Friday News Roundup - Nuke Lab Works On Liquids Scanner For Airport Use

Nov 29, 2013

Los Alamos Working To Create National Park- Associated Press

Tucked away in one of northern New Mexico's mountain canyons is a log cabin that was the birthplace of a top-secret mission that forever changed the world.

Pond Cabin is one of the structures scattered in and around the modern day Los Alamos National Laboratory being proposed as sites for a new national park commemorating the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb.

Supporters want to preserve the World War II-era history while critics contend it inappropriately glorifies the devastation.

Legislation to create parks at the nation's nuclear sites passed the House and one Senate committee earlier this year. If it is passed and signed into law, the parks would be limited to areas involved in the Manhattan Project that created the first nuclear weapons.

Nuke Lab Works On Liquids Scanner For Airport Use - The Santa Fe New Mexican 

Scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are working to perfect a technology that could eliminate the need for travelers to toss their liquids when they go through airport security.

A lab team has combined magnetic resonance with low-power X-rays that together can better distinguish between harmless liquids and those that could be used to make explosives.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the goal is to see what's inside an unopened bottle.

Lab physicist Michelle Espy leads the team that's developed a device they call the MagRay. She says neither travelers nor airport security officers like the current ban on liquids in containers larger than three ounces.

The ban has been in place since an al-Qaida plot to sneak liquid explosives onto U.S.-bound planes was thwarted in 2006.

Governor Names Architect To Education Commission - The Associated Press 

Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed an Albuquerque area architect to the state Public Education Commission, which can approve the creation of local charter schools.

Tyson Parker of Corrales will fill a vacancy for the commission's seat in District 4, which covers parts of Bernalillo, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties as well as Los Alamos County.

Members of the 10-member commission are elected, but the governor fills vacancies.

Parker works for an Albuquerque architectural firm. He earned a master's degree in architecture from the University of New Mexico and an undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Redlands in California.

Charter schools are public schools freed from some traditional educational requirements to help them offer innovative programs.

BLM Considers Leasing Parcels In Rio Arriba County  - The Associated Press 

Federal land managers are proposing to lease nearly 21 square miles for potential oil and natural gas development in Rio Arriba County.

The Bureau of Land Management says it's seeking public comments. A public meeting is scheduled in Cebolla on Tuesday.

The 16 parcels near Cebolla would be offered during the October 2014 lease sale.

The BLM had originally considered making these parcels available for lease during its sale last January. Following an environmental review, the agency recognized the need for additional public involvement and to gather more information regarding key issues such as potential impacts to groundwater resources.

The BLM says it partnered with Rio Arriba County in an effort to fully engage the public and to have the best information on hand before making a decision.

Albuquerque Mayor Wants E-cigs Banned For Teens - The Albuquerque Journal

The mayor of Albuquerque wants the City Council to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

Mayor Richard Berry says his office is crafting legislation he hopes the Council will introduce as early as next month. Berry made the announcement at a Wednesday press conference.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Berry says passing the ban should be a "no-brainer" for councilmembers.

The proposal makes selling the devices to minors a misdemeanor that could land violators in jail for 90 days and merit a $500 fine. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine without burning tobacco.

Santa Fe is considering a similar ban and some state lawmakers have discussed introducing legislation that would ban sales to minors statewide.

Valles Caldera To Sell Christmas Trees, Permits - The Associated Press

Christmas trees and cutting permits will go on sale at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico beginning Friday.

People will be able to either cut their own tree or purchase a precut tree while supplies last. The permits will be sold at the Valle Grande Staging Area from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday until the day before Christmas.

The cutting area is about 12 miles from the staging area, and officials are recommending high clearance vehicles.

Officials say all proceeds from the sale of trees and cutting permits will support the preserve.

Valles Caldera is home to vast grasslands, the remnants of one of North America's few super volcanoes, and one of New Mexico's most famous elk herds.