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Photographer Remembers the 19 Fallen Firefighters

on July 6, 2013 - 12:47pm

Several members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots discuss the fire behavior of a night burnout operation on the Thompson Ridge Fire. Photo by Kristen Honig/Valles Caldera


Photographer Remembers the 19 Fallen Firefighters
By KRISTEN HONIG, Valles Caldera  

Like many of you, I was in complete shock after hearing initial reports of 19 fatalities on a fire in Arizona last Sunday.

After a little investigating, I realized the fire was near Prescott, home base of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and that they were assigned to the fire. My heart sank.

Bandelier Hosts 4th of July Naturalization Ceremony for 15 New Citizens

on July 6, 2013 - 12:17pm
Candidates taking citizenship oath July 4 at Bandelier. Courtesy/NPS
The Naranjo Family Dancers perform the Butterfly Dance. Courtesy/NPS


Under the auspices of Chief United States District Judge M. Christina Armijo, and in the spectacular scenery of Frijoles Canyon, 15 new citizens took their oath on the Fourth of July.  

Included were candidates from Australia, Canada, Eduador, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom. 

In his keynote speech, Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott told them: "America is the land of opportunity,

Visit New Mexico's Only Boy Scout Museum

on July 6, 2013 - 9:25am

Boy Scout flags hang from the ceiling in the Boy Scout Museum in Raton. Courtesy photo


The Los Alamos Boy Scout Museum Society has scheduled a trip Saturday, July 13 to Raton to visit New Mexico’s only Boy Scout Museum.

It is one of only 26 such museums in the United States and privately owned by Dennis and Susan Downing. The museum has been in existence for 20 some years, or about one half the scouting experience time of Dennis Downing─40 years in scouting.

Any person who desires to accompany Society members on this trip can meet at 7:30 a.m.

Fifteen Firefighters Monitor Thompson Ridge Fire

on July 6, 2013 - 9:13am

Photo by Kristen Honig/Valles Caldera Trust

Thompson Ridge Fire News:

Continued minimal fire behavior at the Thompson Ridge Fire has led to a reduction in the original 47 person Type IV team charged with monitoring the perimeter.

Since fire officials declared 100 percent containment Monday July 1, there has been neither new fire growth nor smoke within 500 feet of the perimeter.

Minimal fire behavior observed during the last week is expected to continue and will be monitored by a team of 15 firefighters until the fire is fully suppressed.

IRS: Tax Tips for Newlyweds

on July 6, 2013 - 7:05am

IRS News:

PHOENIX - Late spring and early summer are popular times for weddings. Whatever the season, a change in your marital status can affect your taxes.

Here are several tips from the IRS for newlyweds.

  •  It’s important that the names and Social Security numbers that you put on your tax return match your Social Security Administration records. If you’ve changed your name, report the change to the SSA. To do that, file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get this form on their website at, by calling 800-772-1213 or by visiting your local SSA office.
  • If your

Bradbury Ranks No. 5 on Mensa Top Ten Museums List

on July 5, 2013 - 8:13am

Mensa Top Ten: Bradbury Science Museum Ranks 5

The top 10 list of America's best science museums selected by Mensa members:

1. National Air and Space Museum (Washington, D.C.)

2. Academy of Natural Science Museum of Drexel University (Philadelphia)

3.Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)

4. California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco)

5. Bradbury Science Museum (Los Alamos, N.M.)

6. Arkansas Museum of Discovery (Little Rock, Ark.)

7. California Science Center (Los Angeles)

8. Exploratorium (San Francisco)

9. Museum of Science (Boston)

10. Center of Science and Industry (Columbus, Ohio)


Happy Birthday America!

on July 4, 2013 - 8:22am

The Liberty Bell: According to tradition, the Liberty Bell, which was used to mark important occasions, was rung on July 4, 1776, to summon the people of Philadelphia for a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Photo by Bob Krist/Corbis

Staff Report:

Variously known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4 has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83.)

In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle


Tom Udall's Statement on Cousin's Death

on July 4, 2013 - 7:28am
James "Randy" Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall issued the following statement on the death of his cousin, James "Randy" Udall:
"My family and I are moved by the overwhelming support and condolences for my cousin Randy Udall. He was an extraordinary person who touched so many lives with his spirit, his intelligence and his example. His death is a tremendous loss, and we will miss him more than I can express. There was no one like him.
"Randy and I were especially close.

Jake Trujillo Qualifies for Third National High School Finals Rodeo

on July 2, 2013 - 7:48am

Jake Trujillo Qualifies for his third National High School Finals Rodeo. Courtesy photo


I am a graduating senior from Los Alamos High School. This year, I ended up reserve state champion steer wrestler and qualified for my third consecutive National High School Finals Rodeo.

This year we will be traveling to Rock Springs, Wyo. to compete with more than 1,500 contestants from 41 U.S. states, five Canadian Provinces, and Australia. The National High School Finals is the world's largest rodeo.

Thompson Ridge Fire Declared 100 Percent Contained

on July 2, 2013 - 7:14am

BAER Assessment Team sifts through ash from the Thompson Ridge Fire. Courtesy photo

Staff Report

The Thompson Ridge fire was officially declared 100 percent contained last night.

Mop-up and patrol will continue.

While many wildfires cause minimal damage to the land and pose few threats to the land or people downstream, some fires result in damage that requires special efforts to reduce impacts afterwards. Loss of vegetation exposes soil to erosion; water run-off may increase and cause flooding.

IRS Summertime Tax Tips Available Through August

on July 1, 2013 - 10:33pm

IRS News:

PHOENIX - Even though taxes may not be on your mind, the IRS wants to help you with your 2013 federal tax planning now.

Summer is a good time for you to learn ways to reduce your taxes.

Beginning July 1, the IRS will offer its annual Summertime Tax Tip series of useful information affecting millions of taxpayers. Tax Tip subscribers receive a new Tip via email three times a week during the summer.

IRS Tax Tips are plain language messages that are easy to understand. They often include links to helpful references, IRS YouTube videos and podcasts.

  • Sample Tax Tip topics

Hilltalkers Excel at National Tournament

on July 1, 2013 - 3:35pm

Members of the Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers. Photo by Margo Batha

Speech and debate awards announced. Photo by Margo Batha

LAPS News:

Seven Los Alamos High School speech and debate students traveled to the National Forensic League National Tournament June 16-21 in Birmingham, Ala.

The group consisted of Daniel Ahrens, Antonia Batha, Sam Baty, Ali Berl, Naftali Burakovsky, Katie Haynes and Jessie Zhao. Margo Batha and Janet Newton, who coach the speech and debate team, stated this was the Hilltalkers “most successful national tournament since 2003.”

Katie Haynes competed in six

Luján Addresses Doubling of Student Loan Rates

on July 1, 2013 - 12:39pm

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District released the following statement today on the doubling of interest rates on federal student loans.

"As of today, the interest rates on all new federal student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a college education for millions of young adults.

Mountain Lion Visits Backyard Habitat in Los Alamos

on July 1, 2013 - 12:13pm

A mountain lion drinks water from a local backyard habitat. Over the last year, Hari Viswanathan setup a camera trap to observe the critters visiting his parent's pond on Barranca Mesa in Los Alamos. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) took notice of the amazing variety of wildlife visiting Selvi Viswanathan's NWF Certified Backyard Habitat and asked Hari to write an article about it. Here is the article that describes the history of Selvi's Certified Backyard Habitat, with links to certifying your own yard, and preventing problematic wildlife encounters:

NM Governor Addresses Arizona Firefighter Deaths

on July 1, 2013 - 11:56am



Albuquerque - New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez released the following statement this morning about the tragic deaths of Arizona Hotshot Firefighters this weekend in the Yarnell Hill Fire in Central Arizona:


"I was saddened to hear the news about the deaths of 19 wildland firefighters in Arizona, members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots, based in Prescott. They were killed when the wind suddenly shifted as they fought the fast-moving Yarnell Hill Fire, sparked by lightning.


"For New Mexicans, this news hits especially close to home because just a few short weeks ago,

NNSA Announces Selection of Centers of Excellence for Academic Computational Science Partnerships

on July 1, 2013 - 9:25am

NNSA News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced the selection of its six new centers of excellence whose primary focus will be on the emerging field of predictive science.

Six universities were selected either as a Multidisciplinary Simulation Center (MSC) or as a Single-Discipline Center (SDC). The MSCs will receive $3.2 million and the SDCs will receive $1.6 million each year for five years under NNSA’s Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program II (PSAAP II) agreement. The six universities include:

  • University of Utah, Salt Lake City,

Congressional Delegation Seeks to Help New Mexicans with Genetic Brain Disorder

on July 1, 2013 - 9:11am
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The New Mexico Congressional Delegation has introduced legislation to expand needed research, treatment and education efforts related to Cerebral Cavernous Malformation (CCM), a relatively unknown disorder of the brain and spinal cord more common among New Mexico Hispanics than any other group.
The Cavernous Angioma Research and Treatment Act would build upon an existing network of clinical and research labs to increase coordination, information sharing and awareness about the disease for both professional and patient education.

Bandelier Weekly Nightwalks in Frijoles Canyon Begin July 5

on July 1, 2013 - 8:01am

Frijoles Canyon. Courtesy/NPS


Starting Friday, July 5, Bandelier National Monument will be offering the popular Nightwalks each week (weather permitting) until the end of August.
"The Nightwalk is a very beautiful, timeless, and unusual experience, walking silently with a ranger in the dark in Frijoles Canyon" Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said. "We encourage visitors to take the Main Loop Trail in the daytime to learn about the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here, and then come back in the evening to see their homes in a very different way."
Numbers of

Los Alamos Gymnastics Coach Loui Janecky Elected to National Board

on June 30, 2013 - 8:38am

Louise (Loui) Janecky. Courtesy photo


Louise Janecky, known as Loui by the gymnastics families of Los Alamos, has been elected by acclamation to the USAGymnastics’ newly formed National Xcel Committee.

USAGymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics, is addressing the nation’s need for a competitive gymnastics program that goes beyond the traditional Junior Olympic (JO) Program. The traditional linear JO program has consisted of compulsory routines in Levels 1-6; and optional, individually choreographed routines in Levels 7-10.

The U.S.

Udall Stands Up for N.M. in Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

on June 29, 2013 - 7:55am

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

WASHINGTON –U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., joined the Senate Appropriations Committee in approving a bill that includes significant support for important New Mexico installations and programs, including Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and New Mexico water projects Thursday.

The bill includes record-level base funding for waste cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and significant funding levels for WIPP operations and maintenance.

Three Funding Opportunities in Engineering Research

on June 28, 2013 - 8:21am

NIST News:

Funding opportunities for research in the areas of disaster-resilient buildings and communities, sustainable construction and manufacturing, and "smart" firefighting have been announced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST.)

NIST anticipates selecting one project on each topic and awarding about $300,000 per project. Electronic applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, July 25, 2013. The deadline for paper applications is 5 p.m., Eastern Time, July 25, 2013.

NIST's Engineering Laboratory seeks proposals in the following areas:

Luján: With Only a Few Days Left until Interest Rates Double on Student Loans, It’s Time for Congress to Act

on June 28, 2013 - 7:43am


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District voted today to bring up legislation to address the increase in interest rates on student loans that is scheduled to occur on July 1.

With only five days to go until rates double, Luján joined with all his Democratic colleagues in an attempt to immediately bring legislation to the floor that would freeze rates at 3.4 percent for the next two years. Not one Republican voted with Democrats to bring up the legislation, blocking the effort.

“House Republicans have passed a bill that is a

Thompson Ridge Fire 95 Percent Contained ... 3 Percent Sustained High Intensity Burn

on June 27, 2013 - 10:15am

Initial Burn Severity Map for Thompson Ridge Fire. Courtesy/BAER

JEMEZ SPRINGS – Thompson Ridge BAER specialists recently completed their field surveys and are finalizing their analysis and findings.

The hydrologists and soils scientists finished their modeling for predicted post-fire water run-off and erosion levels.

The BAER team identified critical values-at-risk and is finalizing their recommended emergency stabilization actions and treatments for these values that will be included in their BAER assessment report along with their data, analysis, and findings.

Bandelier Hosting July 4 Naturalization Ceremony

on June 26, 2013 - 11:38am


Last year's July 4 Naturalization Ceremony at Bandelier. Photo by Salvador Zapien/ 


July 4th is traditionally the day when Americans celebrate our freedom and independence.

This year, building on the success of last year's ceremony, Bandelier National Monument is proud to partner with the United States Citizenship and Naturalization Services to host a naturalization ceremony.

Fifteen candidates, after years of fulfilling their requirements, will be taking their oath and becoming the newest citizens of the United States.

Udall Statement on Supreme Court Decision on Defense of Marriage Act

on June 26, 2013 - 10:06am
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall today issued the following statement the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):
"Today's ruling by the Supreme Court reflects the growing progress made for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals around the country. Striking down the Defense of Marriage Act is a victory for thousands of loving, committed families who have been denied equality under the law for too long and will now be rightly treated as the full and equal citizens they are.
"I was proud to support legislation