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Local News

  • N.M. National Guard to deploy soldiers to Puerto Rico Saturday for relief efforts

    More than 115 Soldiers from the New Mexico National Guard's 111th Sustainment Brigade will deploy to Puerto Rico  Saturday to assist with ongoing Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

    The soldiers will assist a joint task force with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the next 30 days, working directly with FEMA to provide the command and control element to those already deployed in assistance efforts on the ground. They will help manage and monitor commodity and water distribution from the ports to regional staging areas and points of distribution at the 78 municipalities on the island, according to a press release issued by the New Mexico National Guard Friday. 

    The soldiers will also manage route clearing and the clearing of road debris to support points of distribution for medical assets and commodities.

    During this past year's hurricane season, the New Mexico National Guard has assisted in Houston, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

  • Lujan Grisham tells Senate leader to leave race

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS and MORGAN LEE, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday that Democratic Sen. Michael Padilla should end his bid for lieutenant governor over claims he harassed women as a city of Albuquerque supervisor.

    Padilla has long denied the harassment claims dating back to 2006 that he links to issues of a hostile workplace environment and not sexual harassment. But Lujan Grisham said in a statement to The Associated Press that Padilla should end his campaign as the decade-old allegations began to resurface on social media and amid sexual harassment cased involved other political leaders and celebrities.

    "My position on sexual harassment is clear: it is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated by me or in my Administration. Michael Padilla's actions were wrong," Lujan Grisham said in a statement to The Associated Press. "There is no room for excuses and he should withdraw his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor."

    Two federal lawsuits say Padilla harassed women while managing the Albuquerque's emergency call center. Padilla was accused of making inappropriate comments and of asking women out on dates despite repeated rejections — claims he adamantly denies.

  • CROP Hunger Walk Set for Sunday

    The Los Alamos CROP Hunger Walk and Turkey Trot will leave the Los Alamos Middle School starting line at 2 p.m. Sunday.

    At that moment, local participants will be joining hundreds of communities across the U.S., putting their best foot forward in this national effort to eradicate global hunger and malnutrition. In so doing, event participants are continuing a local tradition, raising money for long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger around the world.

    Los Alamos residents got involved in 2001 when Ted Williams and the late Aaron Goldman combined the Atomic City Road Runners’ annual Turkey Trot with a CROP Hunger Walk. Concerned citizens of this town have been raising money for hunger relief with this fun, annual community event ever since.

    On Sunday, runners and walkers will gather in the Middle School Cafeteria (on North Mesa) after 1 p.m. to register and get a t-shirt, turn in any money they have been able to raise from friends and supporters, and head out to the starting line.

  • Sparks fly with discussion of charter school

    A Los Alamos Schools board member who urged the district’s superintendent to support a charter school initiative during a private meeting drew criticism from fellow board members on Tuesday.

    Board chair Jenny McCumber and other board members told board member Bill Hargraves that his activities with a committee organizing to establish Polaris Public Charter School – including a meeting with Superintendent Kent Steinhaus – could appear as a conflict of interest.

    The board met Tuesday night for a regularly scheduled meeting, and nearly 90 minutes of the four-hour meeting was taken up with discussion regarding Hargraves’ interactions with Steinhaus.

    Hargraves defended his actions, saying that his presence on the charter school’s organizing committee was as a private citizen.

    He added that he had been a long-time supporter of allowing “student families” to have option in Los Alamos.
    However, fellow board members tried to convince him that as a publicly elected member of a board overseeing Steinhaus, and his employment, he shouldn’t be meeting privately with the superintendent regarding a matter of his personal preference.

  • Lab, county assure safety of drinking water

    Los Alamos County officials and the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management office issued a statement Monday assuring residents of the safety of the county’s drinking water.

    Public concern was raised over early November press reports stating that Los Alamos National Laboratory officials weren’t sure of the extent of a decades-old toxic chemical spill in Mortandad Canyon.

    The revelation was reportedly made at a hearing held between state lawmakers and LANL officials about the status of a toxic chemical cleanup operation in Mortandad Canyon. The spill is decades old and involves hexavalent chromium, an anti-corrosive agent that was flushed regularly into the canyon from the cooling towers of a LANL power plant from the early 1950s into the mid 1970s.

    The chemical is known to cause cancer in humans.

    LANL has been working to contain the spill, which is thousands of feet underground and threatens a regional aquifer, from reaching drinking water wells in Los Alamos County and the San Ildefonso Pueblo.

  • Scouts, letter carriers celebrate food drive’s 20th year Saturday

    This year, the Boy Scouts, Cubs Scouts and the Venture Scouts will team up Saturday with the Atomic City Letter Carriers to help collect food for people who are struggling in Los Alamos.

    Started nearly 20 years ago, the food drive has become an institution that thousands of residents participate in every year.

    Cub Scouts will be on hand outside of the Smith’s stores in Los Alamos and White Rock with a list of items if customers would like to donate a can of food or some other non-perishable item to the cause.

    Most of the donations go to LA Cares, the local food pantry. But it doesn’t stop there.

    Residents have already received a blue card from the Atomic City Letter Carriers, the Los Alamos mail carriers union, in the mail, asking to set out donations out by their mailboxes between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. tomorrow for the Boy Scouts to pick up. All goods collected Saturday day from Smith’s and participating neighborhood will be processed and repackaged at the Crossroads Bible Church.

    This year, LA Cares hopes to feed just over 200 people with the donations.

    The drive helps the scouts, too. By giving to others, the scouts learn how to help those who are going through hard times. It also teaches them civil responsibility.

  • Welcome Back, George
  • Citizens oppose LAPS immigrant student policy at board meeting

    The Los Alamos Public Schools board heard from more people opposed to its proposals to protect immigrant students’ privacy this week.

    Opponents called the measures political posturing and attempts to turn the district into a “sanctuary” school district where children will flock for a good education, during a board meeting on Tuesday.

    Two people also spoke in favor of the measures.

    Board members took up a second reading of a draft policy and regulations that among other measures, prohibits Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, unless they have a warrant, from entering school property without the permission of the superintendent.

    “When did ICE last come to the school? I’m sure the liberal media would have blown it up,” said Greg White, a resident of Los Alamos, during a public comment period.

    The board met at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, and also took up first readings of other policies and regulations that would be impacted by the proposal, such as student records and non-discrimination.

    Board members also disagreed among themselves.

  • Nuclear oversight included in defense spending bill

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A measure aimed to bolstering oversight of the nation's nuclear weapons complex has been passed by Congress as part of a $700 billion defense spending plan.
    U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico say their amendment to the massive military budget bill addresses the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. The independent panel oversees two national laboratories in the state and the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository.
    The measure requires board members to report to Congress each year about whether the White House's budget request for the board is enough to fund reviews deemed necessary to ensure safe operations at the U.S. Energy Department sites.
    Supporters say the board's role is critical given a series of safety lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a planned uptick in nuclear weapons work.

  • Ex-New Mexico state senator is convicted in corruption trial

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A former New Mexico state senator was convicted Thursday on five counts in a corruption trial over accusations he used his position as a lawmaker to profit from the sale of a state-owned building.
    Prosecutors accused Phil Griego of using his elected position and acumen as a real estate broker to guide the sale of the building in downtown Santa Fe through approvals by a state agency, the Legislature and a public buildings commission without properly disclosing his financial interest.
    Griego, 69, resigned from the Legislature in 2015 at the close of a Senate ethics investigation.
    He said he did nothing wrong in earning a $50,000 commission from buyers of the property.
    Defense attorneys emphasized that many high-ranking state government officials backed the transaction — some with knowledge of Griego's involvement.
    Several lawmakers testified that they were left in the dark or mislead by Griego on the matter.
    Prosecutors with the office of Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas pursued Griego on six felony counts and two misdemeanors.
    Jurors found Griego, a Democrat, guilty of violating ethical principles of public service, bribery and fraud against the state and unlawful interest in a public contract.
    He was acquitted of three charges — defrauding business partner, perjury and violating financial disclosure act.