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.

  • Police Beat 2-10-16

    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.

    Jan. 28
    11:55 p.m. — Johnny Trujillo, 21, of Alcalde was arrested by Los Alamos police for possession of a controlled substance on Arkansas Avenue.

    12:55 p.m. — Jerome Montoya, 28 of Los Alamos was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction.

    1:58 p.m. — Zachary Keller, 27, of Los Alamos was arrested for embezzlement of a vehicle in Los Alamos.

    Jan. 29
    2:48 p.m. — A 14-year-old Española male was arrested for marijuana possession (less than one ounce) in Los Alamos.

     Jan. 30
    2:55 p.m. —  Garrett Katcher, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested through a magistrate court bench warrant in Los Alamos.

    5:30 p.m. — Gayle Ortega, 27, of Española was arrested for shoplifting (less than $500) on Trinity Avenue.

    Jan. 31

  • Tax and Rev warns of phone scam

    The Taxation and Revenue Department is warning New Mexicans about fraudulent phone calls demanding delinquent tax payments.
    The department has received reports of aggressive and threatening phone calls made by criminals impersonating Internal Revenue Service agents.
    The imposters demand immediate payment of delinquent taxes and threaten taxpayers with arrest if they do not comply. They may also threaten to cancel your driver’s license. The fraudulent phone calls have reportedly appeared on caller ID as the phone number for the Taxation and Revenue Department. However, legitimate phone calls from the Taxation and Revenue Department are scrambled and the call-back number will not appear on caller ID.
    If anyone receives a phone call from an individual claiming to be a representative of the Internal Revenue Service or the Taxation and Revenue Department and the individual makes unreasonable or suspicious requests, they should call the call the 24-hour Tax Fraud Hotline at 1-866-457-6789 or a local Taxation and Revenue office. For more contact information visit tax.newmexico.gov/contact-us.aspx.

  • LA reacts to ‘Manhattan’ cancellation

    Members of the Los Alamos historical community had mixed reactions to the cancellation of WGN America’s “Manhattan” after just two seasons.
    The biggest disappointment was at losing the bump in visitation the series inspired.
    “For a long time, the number one question in the museum has been, ‘Where’s the bathroom?’” said Los Alamos Historical Society (LAHS) Executive Director Heather McClenahan.
    “But since the show came out, the number one question in the museum has been ‘Is Manhattan real?’ So our job has been to show where the show has been historically accurate and where it has not, and that’s been an adventure and a challenge for our staff, and we’ve enjoyed that.”
    According to McClenahan, interest was considerably greater in the first year, when the show was attracting one to two million viewers an episode. That number dropped to under 400,000 in the second season.
    “But you cannot pay for that kind of publicity, so it’s been a really good thing,” McClenahan said.

  • Driver faces drug charges; heads to trial

    A 25-year-old Albuquerque man who was arrested on drug charges in June will be going to pretrial Feb. 24.
    On June 17, 2015, Los Alamos police patrolling the area of East Road responded to a report of an alleged reckless driver. When officers pulled over a vehicle driven by Fernando Trujillo, they noted that he was going two miles over the 50-mile-an-hour speed limit, and was on the wrong side of the road.
    Officers reported that Trujillo, “seemed dazed and confused and his speech seemed labored,” according to court documents.
    When police searched his car, they allegedly found a glass pipe used for smoking, a small container with marijuana in it and a clear baggie filled with 12.3 grams of marijuana. Police also confiscated .4 grams of heroin as well as various items of drug paraphernalia, including four needles, a burned spoon and a “Q-tip.” Police also recovered a small, palm-sized rubber ball that contained two Clonidine pills. They also found another glass smoking pipe, folded up pieces of burned tinfoil and some brass knuckles.
    Court records also indicated that Trujillo had used marijuana and heroin at around 11 p.m. the night before. Police had pulled him over around 6 a.m.

  • Today in history Feb. 10
  • Suit against LAPD faces more legal wrangling

    Another legal skirmish has occurred in a lawsuit brought by former Los Alamos Police Department officers against Los Alamos County.
    This last legal hurdle involved a subpoena of court documents from an Albuquerque law firm by the plaintiff’s attorney, George Geran. The defense was interested in getting documents from a January 2014 case when two people sued the county, claiming gender discrimination.
    The suit alleged that former Los Alamos County Police Chief Wayne Torpy discriminated against the two former county employees, Diana Stepan and Sharyl Hofer.
    Several years ago, Hofer was the county human resources director and Stepan was an assistant county administrator.
    Geran asked for documents, notes, letters and other communications from William Slease, an attorney who used to work at the Martinez Law Firm. The firm’s owner, Jonlyn Martinez filed a motion to stop the subpoena, on the grounds that Geran was trying to obtain “privileged and confidential” information that occurred between a client and attorney, and therefore was out of bounds of the scope of his request.
    “(The material in question) lies outside the arena of discovery and contradicts the public policy underlying the orderly prosecution and defense of legal claims,” she said in a January hearing at Los Alamos District Court.

  • Celebrating 100 years

    On Feb. 11, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation authorizing the creation of Bandelier National Monument.
    The first event of a yearlong celebration is Thursday, when park staff and the Friends of Bandelier will be handing out cupcakes at Smith’s Marketplace.
    That may seem like rather a low-key event for such a major celebration, but Superintendent Jason Lott has his reasons.
    “We didn’t try to make a big anniversary for Feb. 11. We tried to make it a year’s worth of events and opportunities,” Lott said.
    “So we were very careful about how we invested our available funding this year to make sure we could provide great experiences throughout the year, everything from our wilderness ranger to enhancing our existing programs, such as the citizenship ceremony, the Bandelier Opera.”
    Bandelier will have a dual celebration this year, as it joins the rest of the national park system in celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service, which was created on Aug. 25, 1916. One activity already planned for Founders Day is a hike from Dome Peak led by Craig Martin, president of the Friends of Bandelier. Martin led the same hike to celebrate the 90th anniversary.