Dr. John C. Hopkins to Lecture on ‘The Cold War and U.S. Nuclear Weapons: From My Perspective’

Mushroom-shaped cloud and water column from the underwater Baker nuclear explosion of July 25, 1946. Photo taken from a tower on Bikini Island, 3.5 miles away. Courtesy Photo

Los Alamos Historical Society News:

 

John Hopkins

Dr. John C. Hopkins will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fuller Lodge on “The Cold War and U.S. Nuclear Weapons: From My Perspective” as part of the Los Alamos Historical Society’s 2011-2012 lecture series.

“Nuclear weapons, and hence Los Alamos, played a major role during the Cold War.

Immediately after World War II, the task at Los Alamos was to rebuild the staff following the mass exodus that took place with the surrender of Japan.

Hostility with the Soviet Union, that had origins going back to the Russian Revolution, was exacerbated by Soviet belligerence in Europe following the War.

Consequently the United States looked to nuclear weapons to counter the vast land army of the Soviet Union.

The world changed in August 1949 when the Soviet Union had their first nuclear test.

The 1950s witnessed enormous changes in nuclear weapons and the rationale for their use.

These were the golden years for Los Alamos when the lab enjoyed strong support in Washington.

Numerous technical advances were made from the development of very small weapons to the very largest hydrogen bombs.

The 1960s saw an evolution in nuclear weapons policy and, toward the end of the decade, the beginning of a long downward trend in the numbers of weapons in the stockpile.

The 1970s and ‘80s saw the development of the most sophisticated weapons with reduced weight, size and use of nuclear materials.

Finally the Cold War came to an end in the 1990s and Los Alamos started a new chapter in a long and distinguished history.”

Hopkins is a nuclear physicist with a 1960 Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle and a Fellow of the American Physical Society with over 40 publications.

He retired in December 1993, after 34 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory researching nuclear physics, performing and leading nuclear weapons testing, and then as leader of the entire nuclear weapons program at Los Alamos.

He was leader of the Center for National Security Studies at Los Alamos and a technical advisor to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington and in Geneva.

Hopkins has worked closely with the State, Energy, and Defense Departments and has participated in numerous special programs for the U.S. Government.

This year, the Centennial Lecture Series celebrates 100 years of Los Alamos History and New Mexico Statehood. Lectures are the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. in the Pajarito Room of Fuller Lodge. Lectures. The lectures are free and open to the public, because of the generosity of Los Alamos National Bank and the donations of members of the Historical Society.

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Local Youth Help Team Win State Championship Meets

Charger Aquatics News:

Top row from left, Sara Shiina, Sarah Lott, Kaan Unal, Radhika Iyer. Bottom row from left, Presley Gao, Katherine Elton, Takuma Shiina, Injie Mourad and not in picture Maria Venneri. Courtesy Photo

The 14 & Under under New Mexico State Short Course Swim Meet was held Feb. 24-26 at West Mesa Aquatic Center in Albuquerque.

Eighteen teams from across New Mexico participated in the 3-day event and 112 different events were raced.

Nine swimmers from the Charger Aquatics – Los Alamos (CAQ-LA) team helped cinch the win that brought the 14 & Under state banner back to Los Alamos. CAQ-LA is a branch of Albuquerque Academy’s Charger Aquatics.

From Kaan Unal, Sarah Lott, Sam Harris, Maria Venneri, Sara Shiina and Radhika Iyer.

The branch team was started in September 2010 with one senior swimmer. In April 2011 it started an age group program and has grown to 20, ages 6 and over.

Kaan Unal (12) led the pack placing in the top 8 in seven individual events as well as four relays.  Maria Venneri (14) was top 10 in six individual events as well as 5 relays.  Sarah Lott (14) and Sara Shiina (12) both placed in the top 10 in five of the seven individual events they swam as well as the 5 relays Lott and 4 relays Shiina participated.

Radhika Iyer (12) and Presley Gao (9) also added to the team point totals with their individual and relay swims.  New state meet qualifiers Katherine Elton(9), Injie Mourad (9) and Takuma Shiina (9) had fun with great swims and cheering on their teammates.

(L-R – Kaan Unal, Sarah Lott, Sam Harris, Maria Venneri, Sara Shiina, Radhika Iyer)

Charger Aquatics repeated their first-place success this past weekend, March 3– 5, at the New Mexico Swimming Senior State Meet also at West Mesa Aquatic Center in Albuquerque.

Two CAQ-LA swimmers participated in this meet. Maria Venneri was again in the top 5 in all of her individual events bringing in 44 points to the team and helping her relay teams score 94 points.

Sam Harris (15) also had an impressive showing this past weekend scoring 37 individual points and helping his relay teams bring in an additional 38 points for the club.

14 & Under Combined Team Scores:

  1. Charger Aquatics                                        1192
  2. Vipers of Albuquerque Swim Team         1049
  3. Lobo Aquatic Club                                         960
  4. Swim Rio Rancho                                         368.5
  5. Duke City Aquatics                                        338.5
  6. ABQ Dolphins Swim Team                          185
  7. Las Cruces Aquatic Team                            134
  8. Clovis Swim Club                                           123
  9. Wild West Aquatic Club                                   94
  10. Santa Fe Aquatic Club                                     68
  11. Los Alamos Aquatomics                                 59
  12. Sudden Thunder Aquatic Racers                  50
  13. Taos Swim Club                                               48
  14. Northern Aquatic Club                                     28
  15. Albuquerque Triton Aquatic Club                   24
  16. San Juan Swim Club                                       16
  17. Pajarito Aquatic Club                                        11
  18. Tidal Wave Swim Team                                     6

Senior State Combined Team Scores:

  1. Charger Aquatics                                            1337.5
  2. Swim Rio Rancho                                           1160
  3. Vipers of Albuquerque Swim Tea                 1130
  4. Las Cruces Aquatic Team                               831
  5. Clovis Swim Club                                              555
  6. Duke City Aquatics                                            473
  7. Wild West Aquatic Club                                    370.5
  8. Sudden Thunder Aquatic Racers                   345
  9. Pajarito Aquatic Club                                          38
  10. Four Corners Aquatic Team                              36
  11. Tidal Wave Swim Team                                     18

FSN Offering Programs for Teens, Tweens and Parents with Workshops that take out the ‘Squirm Factor’

Youth Volunteer Natalie Smith spends time helping a local child get creative during a Gingerbread House Building event at the Family Strength's Network. Courtesy/FSN

Family Strengths Network News:

Adolescence is a critical developmental time for every family.

While young people are learning to use their emerging independence to discover their strengths, parents look for opportunities to balance their child’s need for freedom with guidance and direction.

Proactive families know that while children don’t come with a handbook, there are local resources to facilitate a positive experience for everyone during this period of growth.

Family Strengths Network (FSN) is providing a record number of programs for tweens, teens, and their parents this spring.

For families who are ready to meet this transition with education, a good sense of humor, and pizza, FSN offers Tweens to Teens for Girls March 13 and Tweens to Teens for Boys March 20.

Dr. Tom Csanadi and LAPS teacher Scott Johnson lead discussion and activities with boys aged 11 – 14 and their fathers or other male adult.

Public Health Nurse Megan Pfeffer and educator Jennifer Bartram address the changes puberty brings with girls ages 9 – 13 and their mothers or other female adult.

These workshops help take the “squirm factor” out of communicating about adolescence.

In Girls Circle, middle school and high school students use discussion and crafts to express themselves and learn to think independently.

This empowering group meets Mondays from March 5 – April 30.

High school girls meet 3:30-5 p.m. at FSN. Eighth grade girls meet during lunch at LAMS.

The program will provide eighth graders with lunch and high school kids with refreshments. The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board is funding the Circle programs.

Reduce, reuse, and save at the Prom Dress Swap, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. March 24 at FSN.

Drop off donations at the Teen Center or FSN for a $5 coupon toward your new dress. The Key Club is co-sponsoring this event.

The Parents of Teens Breakfast Group will meet from 7:30 8:30 a.m. at The Coffee Booth on Tuesday mornings April 17 – May 8.

Early risers can purchase breakfast and get tips on avoiding power struggles and navigating changes in family dynamics.

Jennifer Bartram will use Active Parenting of Teens, a powerful evidence-based tool, to facilitate discussion. The DWI Council is funding this event.

For more information and online registration for these and other programs including Parenting with Love and Logic for families of school age kids and Ages of Discovery for families with newborns through age five, visit www.lafsn.org.

Family Strengths Network, 1990 Diamond Dr., 662-4515, is a private, non-profit organization and a United Way Community Partner.

Time to Change Batteries in Smoke and CO Alarms this Weekend

Los Alamos Fire Department News:

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to replace the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms this weekend.

Fresh batteries allow smoke and CO alarms to do their jobs saving lives by alerting families of a fire or a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide in their homes.

CPSC estimates there was a yearly average of 386,300 residential fires resulting in nearly 2,400 deaths between 2006 and 2008.

Two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes where there are no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

That is why it is important to replace batteries at least once every year and to test your alarms every month to make sure they work.

CPSC recommends consumers have smoke alarms on every level of their home, outside bedrooms and inside each bedroom.

CPSC estimates there was an annual average of 183 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products between 2006 and 2008.

CO is called the “invisible killer,” because it is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas.

Because of this, people may not know they are being poisoned. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel in various products, including furnaces, portable generators, fireplaces, cars and charcoal grills.

That is why it is important to have working CO alarms in the home, on each level and outside each sleeping area.

Ice, Mud, and Spring Fever

Even though north-facing slopes are snow-packed, south slopes and ridgelines dry out quickly. Photo by Craig Martin

Column by Craig Martin

Craig Martin

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire…” T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland.

For a Los Alamos resident who lives to be outside, March is the cruelest month. Once or twice a week, the weather hints of the end of winter and I get a touch of spring fever. I have to get on a trail as often as possible.

But on the higher terrain above town, the snow is alternately slush and rock-hard ice, not ski conditions I dream about on autumn nights. In town, the snow is hard-packed into icy ribbons on the trails, and when it melts, the trail turns to a goo that is slicker than the ice. I’m spoiled by the Los Alamos trail network and I really balk at walking on the sidewalk.

My profession of trail caretaker further complicates the simple act of taking a trip out the door. I know this muddy season has the potential to affect long-term trail conditions by trenching the trail a little deeper and by widening beautiful, skinny singletracks.

Potholes left by bootprints and ruts gouged by mountain bike tires when the soil is slick often linger until summer. Over time, they get worn down by trail traffic, but at the expense of the trail. The trail tread is worn to dust, which is carried away by wind or water. As a result, the trail becomes a trench that deepens just a little bit each season.

Widening trails occurs when users try to avoid muddy stretches by traveling next to the trail. Vegetation is most vulnerable to compaction when it is dormant, so repeated stepping or riding on trailside grasses and wildflowers is likely to kill them.

To avoid causing problems to a trail while meeting my need for blue sky above, I adjust my routine to trail conditions or I seek trails where my impact is minimal.

  • When I walk on a snow-packed or icy trail, I use traction devices on my boots. This permits me to stay on the ice and avoid walking along side the trail.
  • I take an early trip—at 6 a.m., the mud is frozen.
  • Trails on south-facing slopes and mesa tops dry out first.
  • Trails that have a lot of rock surface don’t have much mud.
  • My mountain bike stays in the garage.
  • White Rock, here I come.

There are plenty of good choices for a walk right now. Here are some current trail conditions:

Trails generally free of ice and mud include the Quemazon, Mitchell, Woodland, and the eastern part of the Perimeter.

Kwage Mesa is in good shape, but Deer Trap Mesa still has some muddy spots.

Bench trails on the north sides of canyons are good: the North Bayo Bench Trail, and the North Pueblo Bench Trail.

Trails in White Rock are in good shape, including the Blue and Red Dot trails, and the trails on Department of Energy lands south of White Rock.

There’s no excuse for watching another You Tube video, get out there and soak in those fleeting hints of spring.

Diverse Faiths Share Soup and Spirituality

The first Lenten Soup Supper took place last Thursday at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church and drew a diverse crowd of local Episcopalians, Lutherans, Jews, Methodists, United Church members and others. Those gathered enjoyed a free meal of homemade soups and breads, were inspired by four different teaching sessions, and ended the event by joining together in a brief evening prayer service. The Lenten Soup Supper events will continue at 6 p.m. every Thursday, including this evening, through March 29. Everyone is welcome to stop by the TOTH Parish Hall at 3900 Trinity Dr., at the corner of Diamond and Trinity, to partake in savory soups, breads sure to warm the cockles of most hearts and a gentle dose of spiritual edification. Photo by TK Thompson/ladailypost.com

Photo by TK Thompson/ladailypost.com

Photo by TK Thompson/ladailypost.com

Photo by TK Thompson/ladailypost.com

The People Spoke and the School Board Listened

Los Alamos Public School board members Kevin Hornell and Dawn Venhaus check out one of the design options for a school bus lane at Los Alamos High School. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.om

By Kirsten Laskey

The public came, they talked and they were heard at Tuesday night’s special school board meeting in the Speech Theater at Los Alamos High School.

After hearing strong opposition to the recently approved bus-loop along Diamond Drive for Los Alamos High School, the board unanimously approved putting the brakes on the project pending further investigation.

The board’s decision resulted in several “thank yous” from the crowd.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt said conversations on the bus loop began four to five months ago.

There were initially seven proposals, which were “whittled down” to two:

  • Reconfiguring the parking lot adjacent to Duane Smith Auditorium to include a bus lane.
  • Building a bus loop along Diamond Drive.

The board aired a short traffic video, which revealed buses, cars and pedestrians attempting to maneuver around each other in the Duane Smith parking lot.

Student safety is the purpose behind this project, Schmidt said. Mornings and afternoons at the parking lot are like “organized chaos.”

Board President Melanie McKinley added that the Public School Finance Authority has specific guidelines about separating school buses from other traffic.

The board approved the Diamond Drive bus loop option during its Dec. 21 meeting.

The option would have buses entering the loop near the “jock lot” by Griffith Gymnasium and exiting close to the entrance of the Duane Smith parking lot. The loop would hold up to six buses at a time.

“We wanted to create a bus zone that was safe and inviting and directed people to the main entrance,” Schmidt said.

However, two trees would need to be cut down for this option and the entrance and exit may conflict with the “jock lot” exit and the Duane Smith lot entrance.

Los Alamos High School student, Travis and Keith Rosenbaum, LAPS transportation supervisor speak to the school board Tuesday night. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

The bus lane would run up against the auditorium and continue along P Wing. A chain link fence would be erected along the length of the bus lane.

The option would call for restriping existing parking spaces and putting asphalt behind P Wing along Orange Street. Some parking spaces in the lot would be lost.

The estimated cost for the Duane Smith parking lot option is $190,000.

The Diamond Drive loop is estimated to be $155,000. Neither option includes landscaping costs.

The project would be partly funded by a $39,000 grant from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Schmidt said.

During public comment, Magistrate Judge Pat Casados, speaking as a Denver Steels resident, asked the board to consider the impact the options would have on the neighborhood. Already parents driving their kids to school are a problem, she said, adding that many are rude and inconsiderate on the road.

“I hear the (vehicles) screeching every morning,” she said.

If parking spaces are eliminated from the Duane Smith Parking lot, then more drivers will park on residential streets, Casados said.xz

“I’m asking you to stop, think and be a good neighbor,” she said.

Audience member Elaine Jacobs wondered whether there was another alternative such as using Sullivan Field for buses.

Board Member Dawn Venhaus said this would not work because the Sullivan Field parking lot is county-owned.

Another audience member commended the board on its hard work and complimented the new wing at the high school. However, putting in a bus loop would end the project on the wrong note, he said.

“If you put in a bus lane … you’re just not finishing it right,” he said.

He urged the board to “leave the grass, leave the trees.”

A number of Los Alamos High School students stepped forward to voice their opposition to the Diamond Drive option. One student presented a petition containing 141 signatures from her peers urging the board to strive for alternative options.

The board agreed that more work was needed to be done.

Board Vice President Kevin Hornell said a smarter solution needed to be produced.

SIDE BAR:

Los Alamos High School Bus Loop Options
The bus loop options have been a topic of discussion at the 11/8/11 and 12/20/11 Regular School
Board meetings. Articles were published in the Los Alamos Monitor on 11/9/11 and 12/21/11.
• Estimated costs of both of these projects are still being determined.
• There may not be Board consensus on these items as to whether they are pros or
cons.
• Conversations are still underway regarding the landscaping.
• Funding includes $39,000 grant from New Mexico Department of Transportation
Bus Loop Pros
• Separate and protected bus loop
• Good drop‐off location in front of new main entrance
• Construction can occur in summer/fall with little impact to existing function
• Creates new visual presence to the school
• Landscaping will be incorporated into the design
• Creates a place for emergency vehicles
• Maintains current number of student/staff parking
• The Transportation Department preferred this plan
• Something will be done to address the issues of speed in the Smith parking lot as well as striping
• In order to take advantage of the 2012 NMDOT grant construction would have to occur summer
2012
Bus Loop Cons
• Will hold only 6 buses
• Loose the advantage of having a traffic light on Orange Street for protected left turns onto

Diamond Drive
• Will require County approval due to impact on Diamond Drive
• May conflict with jock lot exit and Smith lot entrance
• Utility relocation will be necessary
• Impact on existing landscape, including trees and sprinklers
• New paving impacts existing storm drainage system
• May require retaining walls, ramps and stairs
• Removes 2 mature trees
• Increased afternoon traffic through the Western area
• Potential snow removal problems
• Additional site work for Smith is still required for striping and rumble strips

Smith Lot Pros
• Separate and protected bus loop and parent drop‐off
• Space for 8 buses
• Good drop‐off location near main entrance
• Maintain existing paving in most cases
• Maintains/modifies existing entrances
• Reorganizes parking lot into bus lane, parent drop off, and student parking
• Landscaping will be incorporated into the design
• Construction can occur in summer/fall with little impact to existing function
• In order to take advantage of the 2012 NMDOT grant construction would have to occur summer
2012
Smith Lot Cons
• Common access and egress with Smith Parking
• Pedestrian movement from Smith Lot has to cross bus drop‐off and parent drop‐off
• New Smith bus loop in Smith reduces number of spaces
• Snow removal problems

Art Wanted … Deadline Extended

Fuller Lodge Art Center News:

Fuller Lodge Art Center has extended the application deadline for the show “Rhythm and Rhyme” through Monday, March 12.

The Art Center planned this show as a tribute to National Poetry Month, envisioning a showcase of right brain/left brain collaboration in a display that illustrates the influence words in poetry, literature or song lyrics can have on artists.

All media are appropriate for this show.

For information about how to apply, contact the Art Center at 662-1635 or visit fullerlodgeartcenter.com

Have you ever thought about what wavy lines would sound like, or what words best capture the color red?

What song do you hear when you look at your favorite painting?

We challenge artists to consider how to capture the sense of rhythm and rhyme in their art.

Alternately, if you have been inspired to write something because of a friend’s artwork, encourage them to enter their work with your writing. (Only the art work will be juried.)

Fuller Lodge Art Center, 2132 Central Ave., is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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.”

Rare Gray Fox Sighted on Zuni

This is the first gray fox that longtime resident Mary Carol Williams said she has seen in Los Alamos in the 40 years that she has lived here. The healthy looking fox nibbled around her back yard on Zuni for about an hour - not 15 feet from her window. Photo by Mary Carol Williams

Gray Fox Facts

Range:

All four deserts of the American Southwest and beyond.

Habitat:

Chaparral, wooded areas and among boulders on the slopes of rocky ridges in canyons and open desert.

Description:

The Gray Fox is the only member of the dog family that can climb trees, usually to seek refuge or in search of roosting birds. It can reach a speed of 28 mph for short distances and has lived for up to 10 years in captivity; longevity in the wild is probably much shorter.

The Gray Fox is smaller in size than the Coyote – usually 32 to 45 inches long, and weighs seven to 11 pounds. Its coloration is grizzled gray on top, with a white throat extending underneath; it is rusty-red along the sides. The tail usually has a black mane along the top, with a dark-gray or black tip. Gray Foxes have elongated muzzles and forward-pointing ears.

Although primarily nocturnal, The Gray Fox may sometimes be seen foraging during the day, seeking primarily small mammals, but being an omnivore, it will also eat eggs, insects, birds, fruits, acorns and berries.

If not using a hollow tree, the vixen (female) may dig her den into soil or enlarge the burrow of another animal. This den may be as much as 75 feet long and can have 10 or more exits. There are also numerous side chambers used for food storage and for the transfer of young, once a chamber becomes too soiled to inhabit.

Life Cycle:

The Gray Fox mates in February or March, bearing young in April or May – a gestation period of about 51 days. The three to seven pups are dark brown in color; they are born blind and remain so for about 10 days. The young venture out of the den after about five weeks, and are usually weaned by 10 weeks. The father provides food for the entire family during this period. The family remains together until late fall, then separates. All foxes generally remain solitary throughout the winter.

The other three species of foxes in the U.S. are the Red Fox (Vulpes fulva), the Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis) and the Swift Fox (Vulpes velox), each of which is about half the size of the Gray Fox. The Red Fox has the largest range in North America, but occurs only in the Chihuahuan Desert of eastern New Mexico. The Kit Fox occurs in all four southwestern deserts, while the Swift Fox generally does not occur in any desert environments.

Source: desertusa.com