A Look Back at Life in Los Alamos in 2012

Curiosity made it to Mars! Some 400 people gathered at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bradbury Science Museum when NASA announced Curiosity had landed on Mars. Photo by TK Thompson/ladailypost.com

Staff Report

Below are many of the stories that delighted, saddened, shifted, shaped and filled the community of Los Alamos with pride during 2012:

Curiosity Made it to Mars!

Los Alamos played a significant role in the success of the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its six-wheeled wonder, the Curiosity rover. The international team of space explorers involved with the mission is relying in part on an instrument originally developed at Los Alamos called ChemCam, which fires an extremely powerful laser pulse to briefly focus the energy of a million light bulbs onto a pinhead-sized area on targets up to 23 feet away from the rover. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/curiosity-made-it-marshttp://www.ladailypost.com/content/lanl-top-science-news-2012

Bandelier Chief Ranger Tom Betts salutes the American flag during the July 4 naturalization ceremony at the park. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ladailypost.com

Bandelier Celebrates 15 New U.S. Citizens

Under the soaring cliffs of Frijoles Canyon in Bandelier National Monument, 15 immigrants were sworn in as U.S. citizens on the 4th of July during the first ever naturalization ceremony in a national park. The event garnered Bandelier a national award. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/bandelier-celebrates-15-new-us-citizens/ … http://www.ladailypost.com/content/bandelier-team-receives-partnership-award

Dignitaries gather in front of the Smart House on Trinity Drive during a special ceremony in September. Photo by Greg Kendall/ladailypost.com

Powering Up the Los Alamos Smart Grid & Smart House

For two years, American and Japanese partners toiled together to build the Los Alamos Smart Grid, designed to demonstrate how to provide a significant portion of renewable power on the electric grid to meet a community’s residential needs. The $52 million state‐of‐the‐art, international smart grid project powered up Sept. 17 at 1925‐D Trinity Dr., during an event that drew New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, NEDO Chairman Kazuo Furukawa, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Los Alamos County Council Chair Sharon Stover, Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Dr. Charles McMillan, Toshiba CEO Norio Sasaki and other key executives from major participating companies such as Kyocera, Hitachi, Sharp, Itochu and NGK Insulators. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/powering-los-alamos-smart-grid-smart-house#overlay=node/11766/edithttp://www.ladailypost.com/content/smart-house-smart-grid-ribbon-cutting-gallery

Outgoing Los Alamos County Councilors from left, Mike Wismer, Sharon Stover and Vincent Chiravalle are honored at a farewell ceremony Dec. 18. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Bids Three Councilors Farewell

The Los Alamos County Council went through ups and down during the year with the resignation of Vice Chair Ron Selvage and appointment of Rick Reiss and the end of terms for Chair Sharon Stover,  Councilor Mike Wismer and Councilor Vincent Chiravalle who officially leave office at midnight. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/county-bids-three-councilors-farewellhttp://www.ladailypost.com/content/los-alamos-county-councilor-apologizes-behavior-during-trip-russia

Election 2012 Wrap Up

The Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office reported that Los Alamos County voters cast 10,684 ballots in the 2012 General Election. The majority of those votes were cast early or absentee with 3,528 cast on election day, Nov. 6. Voters approved all four proposed Charter Amendments, which was a highly contested issue throughout the campaign season. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/election-2012-wrap

Council Approves Trinity Lease Transfer to Kroger!

In September, the Los Alamos County Council voted 5 to 2 to approve the lease transfer of the Trinity Site Development project from North American Development Group (NADG) to Kroger. NADG pulled out of the project earlier that month citing disappointment in lease activities and opted to transfer the development lease to Kroger, pending Council approval. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/council-approves-trinity-lease-transfer-kroger/http://www.ladailypost.com/content/kroger-reps-brief-council-plans-trinity-sitehttp://www.ladailypost.com/content/public-shares-opinion-trinity-lease-transferhttp://www.ladailypost.com/content/steven-lynne-kroger-lease-could-be-executed-tomorrow

Council Approves 8 CIP Projects

In May, Council unanamously approved the $2,226,471 Ashley Pond Improvement Project, the $4 million Teen Center, the $4.3 million Nature Center, the $655,000 Eastern Area Sound Wall, the $500,000 Canyon Rim Trail, the $1.5 million Ice Rink Improvements Project and retention of $800,000 in a contingency fund. Council also approved 6-1 to fund the $11,283,800 phased Golf Course Improvement Project with first year costs of about $2 million, and 6-1 to approve the $8.4 million White Rock Civic Center, directing the White Rock Implementation Committee to come back by June 30 with a phased plan. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/council-approves-8-cip-projects

County Budget Tightening Puts Capital Projects on Hold

At the Dec. 11 County Council meeting, County Administrator Harry Burgess explained  that the capital improvement projects and other pending actions by Council that involve large expenditures of money were temporarily being put on hold. The County’s budget tightening was predicated by Los Alamos National Laboratory budget concerns and actual LANL expenditures being lower than the level anticipated by the County. A mid-year budget review has been tentatively scheduled for Council’s Jan. 29 meeting. Burgess said that will allow the County enough time to put together a proposed package of how the County will bridge the gap. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/county-budget-tightening-puts-capital-projects-hold

County Administrator Harry Burgess Announces Re-organization, Promotions

For the first time in more than two years, the executive level at Los Alamos County became fully staffed in June. County Administrator Harry Burgess promoted Steve Lynne and Brian Bosshardt to Deputy County Administrator position, a job title that previously existed several years ago. Burgess merged the Capital Projects & Facilities Department with the Community Development Department and promoted Anne Laurent to director. He also promoted Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan to fill the Community Services Director position. In further filling vacancies, the Los Alamos County Council in June appointed Rebecca Ehler as the new County Attorney.http://www.ladailypost.com/content/county-administrator-harry-burgess-announces-re-organization-promotionshttp://www.ladailypost.com/content/county-announces-new-top-attorney-community-services-director

Dixie Girl and Pajarito Brewpub Restaurants Open

Two new restaurants opened to much fanfare this year including the Dixie Girl July 10 and the Pajarito Brew Pub Nov. 2. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/dixie-girl-opens-1130-am-today http://www.ladailypost.com/content/public-packs-pajarito-brewpub-grill-friday-night

New Los Alamos High School Building Opens and Garners Design Award

The New Mexico Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors selected Los Alamos High School as its 2012 “Excellence in Construction Award” winner this past October. LAHS received the design award because of the special features of the school, which include a culinary arts center, a functional foreign language lab, seminar rooms, a more accessible administrative wing and a Topper Theater that doubles as a dance studio. In addition, state-of-the-art classrooms were included in the design. The unique challenge of constructing a building while school was in session was also considered in the selection of LAHS for this award. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/los-alamos-honored-building-award-winning-high-school

Dignitaries Dedicate Probe Center at Research Park

The New Mexico Consortium, LANL, Carnegie Mellon University and the National Science Foundation partnered to create the PRObE Center (Parallel Reconfigurable Observational Environment.) Using $10 million provided by the National Science Foundation, along with 2,048 recently retired computers from LANL, the PRObE Center will be the world’s first facility where computer systems researchers have access to a dedicated large scale supercomputer where disruptive – and even destructive – testing can be done. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/dignitaries-dedicate-probe-center-research-park

Dignitaries Break Ground on Biological Research Lab

In May, dignitaries broke ground for a new research laboratory set to be constructed on property adjacent to the Los Alamos Cooperative Market at 95 Entrada Dr. The Biological Research Laboratory will be utilized by Dr. Richard Sayre and his growing team of researchers. Dr. Sayre is director of the Biofuels Project at NMC and chief scientist for the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts. Their research on domestic algae biofuel aims to increase the energy density of this biofuel, increase overall production and lower its cost. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/dignitaries-break-ground-biological-research-lab http://www.ladailypost.com/content/udall-help-break-ground-los-alamos-energy-facility

Community Bids Farewell to Longtime Police Officers

Local police officers Deputy Chief Kevin Purtymun and Cpl. Doug Ehler were honored by the County and the community as they retired this year. The officers were well-known figures with Purtymun serving on the force for 24 years and Ehler serving for 20 years. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/council-recognizes-retirees-deputy-chief-kevin-purtymun-and-cpl-doug-ehler 

LASO’s Kevin Smith Gets New Assignment                                                     

NNSA announced that Kevin Smith, manager of NNSA’s Los Alamos Site Office (LASO), will become manager of the Office of River Protection in January. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/los-alamos-county-council-honors-kevin-smith

Don Davis is 2012 Teacher of the Year!

Donald Davis of Los Alamos High School is Los Alamos Public Schools 2012 Teacher of the Year. Davis has taught in the district for five years as Teacher/Robotics and Engineering Design. Davis will go on to compete for New Mexico Teacher of the Year. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/don-davis-2012-teacher-year

Francine Mendoza Chosen 2012 Realtor of the Year!

Francine J. Mendoza was chosen Realtor of the Year during the annual President’s Day Breakfast Dec. 13 at De Colores Restaurant. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/francine-mendoza-chosen-2012-realtor-year

Basket Ball Reeling Robot Earns Local Students ‘Top-seeded Rookie Team’ Trophy

Team 4153 from Los Alamos High School traveled to the regional portion for the FIRST Robotics Competition in Salt Lake this year and made it through the quarter finals and on to the semi finals, where they weren’t eliminated until the final round. The Team, named Project Y after the government name for Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project, finished 14 out of 44, an amazing showing for a brand new team. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/basket-ball-reeling-robot-earns-local-students-top-seeded-rookie-team-trophy

LAHS Finishes 2nd for Director’s Cup

Los Alamos High School had three State Champions including Boys Cross Country, Girls Cross Country and Girls Track and Field. LAHS was State Semi-Finalists in Girls Soccer, Volleyball and Girls Tennis. In Activities, Chess was a State Runner-up and Choir and NMJROTC were State Semi-Finalists. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/lahs-finishes-2nd-director%E2%80%99s-cup

Fryer, Richie, Clark Take Gold at State Gymnastics Championship

Los Alamos School of Gymnastics Atomic Tumblers’ Brianna Fryer, Addison Richie and Anna Clark became New Mexico State All-around Champions in their divisions following their performances in the Xcel Program State Gymnastics Meet in Rio Rancho Dec. 1. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/fryer-richie-clark-take-gold-state-gymnastics-championship

Aquatomics Swimmers Set New State Record!

The Los Alamos Aquatomics 8 & Under boys relay team set a New Mexico State Record in the 100 short course yards Freestyle Relay. Champions Andy Corliss, Wayne Williams, Matias Rougier and Ming-Yuan Lo set the new state record during the STAR (Sudden Thunder Aquatic Racers) Veteran’s Day Classic Swim Meet held Nov. 9-10 in Rio Rancho. The boys finished with a blistering time of 1:05.23, beating the previous New Mexico State Record set by Caprock Aquatics of 1:07.69 in February 1993. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/aquatomics-swimmers-set-new-state-record

Los Alamos Lost Several Residents in 2012

And finally, 2012 marked the passing of renowned scientist Dr. George Cowan, Los Alamos High School student Nikolas Ventura-Arencon and many other beloved residents this year. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/obituaries





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