Local News

  • On the front lines of Los Alamos 311 center

    They are the first people encountered at the Los Alamos County municipal building. They answer the 311 information phone lines. They take utility payments and property tax payments, they handle banner permits and the county’s “lemon lot” permits. They also serve as notary publics and manage the sale of cemetery plots and arrange for internments.
    All these duties fall to the 311 Customer Care Center staff, who are often the first point of contact between county residents and county services.
    “Those people are so good. I needed some information yesterday and they really went out of their way to find out,” said resident Chris Judson. “They always come through for me. Every time I’ve ever dealt with them it’s been so positive. They really deserve kudos.”
    The Los Alamos Monitor sat down with Billing and Service Specialist Tracey Alarid to learn more about what the job entails.
    “My day is always very extremely busy, but it’s different every day,” Alarid said.
    Judson’s experience of having a 311-staffer track down information is not unusual.

  • Trinity Capital to pay 1.5 million in federal penalties

    The Los Alamos National Bank and its parent company, Trinity Capital Corporation, have agreed to pay $1.5 million in fines. In exchange, the Securities and Exchange Commissio will drop the charges it levied against the bank and Trinity for accounting fraud.

    “Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Trinity agreed to provide ongoing cooperation and to pay a $1.5 million penalty, which takes into account the company’s significant remedial measures and cooperation during the investigation, The SEC said in a written statement.

    According to the SEC, Trinity underreported the net losses to its shareholders by $30.5 million. SEC officials said the company reported its 2011 income as $4.9 million, when actually the bank suffered a $25.6 million loss.

    In its investigation of the bank and Trinity Capital, the SEC directly blamed William Enloe, Trinity Capital’s CEO at the time, former chief credit officer Jill Cook and former lending officer Mark Pierce.

    The SEC’s complaint also blames Trinity’s former CFO Daniel Bartholomew and vice president of internal audit Karl Hjelvik for not installing proper internal auditing controls and failing “to ensure the bank’s books and records were reasonably accurate.” 

  • Schedule of Public Works projects set for Los Alamos

    Note: For more information about the projects listed below, please email lacpw@lacnm.us, call 662-8150, or visit the “Projects” link at www.losalamosnm.us. Please slow down and use caution within the construction work zones. Please note the below information is based on a schedule provided by the contractors and may change due to weather or other delays.
    Western Area
    Improvements Phase 3:
    Paving operations will begin on Monday, Sept. 21 on 43rd Street (north). Residents are asked to park vehicles in their driveways during paving hours.
    Work hours will begin 8 a.m. Residents can expect flagging operations. Crew members will be available to escort residents through the work zone if emergencies arise.
    20th Street/Fuller Lodge Improvements:
    The north bound lane will remain closed through Wednesday. On Thursday, the contractor will change the traffic control to allow for paving on the south bound lane. Motorists will use the north bound lane. Signs will be in place to help guide motorists through the detour. To access local businesses please follow detour signs.
    On Friday, the contractor plans to close 20th Street north of the Deacon Street intersection to the parking lot across from the Teen Center. This will allow for the contractor to construct new concrete pedestrian crosswalks.

  • President’s Day holiday closures and special hours for Monday

    The following will be closed or operating special hours for Monday's President's Day holiday:
    • County administration offices are closed on Monday.
    • Eco-Station will be closed.
    • There will be no recycling or trash pick-up on Monday.
    • Alternate pick-up day for those trash customers affected is Wednesday.
    • Recreation facilities will be closed.
    • Ice rink is open noon-5 p.m.
    • Golf Course is closed for the winter season.
    • Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center closed.
    • Mesa Public and White Rock Branch libraries are open 1-5 p.m.
    • Atomic City Transit will not be running fixed-route or Dial-a-Ride service.
    • All other county facilities will be closed, including Municipal court.
    • For police dispatch services, please call 662-8222. In case of an emergency, dial 911.
    • NCRTD: Mountain Trail Bus to Ski Santa Fe to operate on its weekend/holiday schedule.

  • Police Beat 2-14-16

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    11:14 p.m. — Erich Schoenberg, 26, of Los Alamos was arrested for aggravated driving while intoxicated, with a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or more in Los Alamos.

    Feb. 3
    5:31 a.m. — Anthony Brophy,  57, of Los Alamos was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery in Los Alamos.

    Feb. 4
    10:54 a.m. — Qing Miao, 52, of Los Alamos was arrested for shoplifting in the 700 block of Trinity Drive.

    12:34 p.m. — Robert Coyne, 65 of Los Alamos was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant at the Los Alamos police station. The original charge was negligent use of a deadly weapon on Aug. 26 at 3:04 a.m.

    4:18 p.m. — Police reported that a 15-year-old female was the victim of an accident with no injuries at Arkansas Avenue.

    6:52 p.m. — Police reported that a  34-year-old Los Alamos woman had her registration sticker stolen on Central Avenue.

  • Valentine's Day Love Stories: LA couples look back on decades together

    When the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization holds it Valentine’s Day Downton Abby Tea on Sunday, there are likely to be many couples who are celebrating decades together. The Los Alamos Monitor interviewed two of them this week.
    Sally and Walter Chamberlain will be married 63 years in July.
    They first met in Altadena, Calif., when Sally was nine and Walter was 17. Sally has no memory of that, but Walter does. Sally’s father, Dr. Henry G, Bieler, was the Chamberlains’ family physician.
    The two did not meet again until she was 25 and he was 33, at a musical event that her father hosted in their home. Walter decided to ask Sally out. He asked her to go skiing for their first date.
    “He thought I liked skiing, but I was a complete novice,” Sally said.
    Walter found Sally far more interesting than other women he had dated. He also liked the fact that she practiced a simple, healthy diet, as he did. In fact, her father authored “Food is Your Best Medicine” and used diet to heal Walter of chronic tonsillitis when he was a child.
    As for Sally, “I didn’t want to be a single lady, and he was mighty nice. He was very polite and very much fun.”

  • Man sentenced in bus accident

    An Española man who ran his truck into a Los Alamos Transit Bus in October was sentenced in Los Alamos Magistrate Court.
    Richard Atencio, 51, will only be charged with careless driving. He will also have to undergo 90 days of supervised probation.
    In October, Atencio was driving his Dodge  pickup truck southbound when he veered out of his lane on NM 4 in White Rock and smashed almost head on into a Los Alamos Atomic City Transit Bus. According to a video retrieved from the bus, Atencio drifted into the bus’s northbound lane and slammed his truck into the rear half of the bus, knocking the minibus over into a ditch.
    “The LA County transit bus was traveling in the opposite direction north on a divided highway with a double yellow line,” said an officer in court records. “(The police officer) said it was apparent that the driver applied his brakes just prior to striking the bus, which shows that the driver was conscious and awake. (The police officer) stated the driver of the Dodge truck failed to stay in his lane, drifted left of center, and Richard Atencio struck the bus with his truck in the rear driver side of the bus.”

  • Residents could foot bill for aging waterlines

    Residents in the Western Area, Eastern Area and North Community could find themselves in the same situation George and Chris Chandler did in 2015, when the Department of Public Utilities presented them with a  $5,839.99 bill for repairing an aging water delivery line on their property.
    The Chandlers had been notified of a leak in their service line (a line between their meter and their house) a year earlier. DPU repaired that leak at no charge.
    In 2015, they were notified that another leak had been discovered. George watched DPU staff at work and was not convinced the leak was on his property. The workers informed him they would have to replace the line, then disappeared for hours as they searched for the shutoff valve, which they eventually found the next day. They replaced the entire line running from outside his property to a vertical rise in his yard.
    A couple of weeks later, DPU workers showed up at Chandler’s door asking him to sign a form stating that he agreed to pay for the repairs. The form had no details about what work was done, how many hours the crew worked or how much the bill would be. Chandler refused to sign it, but shortly afterward the $5,839.99 bill arrived.

  • Legislation reignites debate over LA sheriff's office

    Two bills introduced this state legislative session have stirred up dust in Los Alamos County – reigniting the debate about whether the county should have a sheriff.
    A local defense attorney, George Chandler, said he thinks the bills are a ploy by Sheriff Marco Lucero to extend his time in office indefinitely.
    Lucero, on his second four-year term, insists he has no real dog in the fight.
    SJR 16 would eliminate term limits for sheriffs in New Mexico, and SB 203 would have put stricter requirements on who could run for the office.
    Lucero has spent many days at the Roundhouse, waiting for the outcome. He said if these bills eventually passed, they would add professionalism and consistency to a vital community role.
    “There are good things to this resolution, and there are bad things to this resolution,” Lucero said.
    SB 203 was closed by the sponsor Friday after it was found unconstitutional by the Senate Judiciary Committee. SJR16 was still scheduled to be heard in committee as this paper went to press.

  • Los Alamos executive resigns after 15 years with laboratory

    SANTA FE (AP) — A high-ranking official at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced his resignation after more than 15 years with the institution.

    According to a memo sent to lab employees on Thursday, Los Alamos Executive Director Richard Marquez told lab Director Charles McMillan that he would leave the lab, effective immediately.

    Marquez did not respond to requests for comment and lab officials declined to comment.

    Principal Associate Director for Operations and Business Craig Leasure will serve as interim executive director.

    Marquez worked at the Department of Energy in Albuquerque for several years before starting at the lab in 2001.