Local News

  • New Mexico runs out of vehicle registration stickers

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division has run out of the special paper required to print new vehicle registration stickers.

    Agency spokesman Ben Cloutier confirmed Tuesday that the division ran out April 9 as the contract for the paper provider expired. The contract has since been renewed and registration stickers for all affected customers are expected to be mailed by the end of the month.

    Cloutier says the agency apologizes for any inconvenience and that temporary registrations printed for customers will serve as validation until they receive their stickers in the mail.

    The Motor Vehicle Division has notified law enforcement about the situation in the event a driver is stopped for not having a current sticker.

    It's unclear how many motorists were affected by the paper shortage.

  • IRS gives taxpayers extra day to file after website issues

    By SARAH SKIDMORE SELL, AP Personal Finance Writer

    Americans are getting an extra day to file their taxes after key elements of the IRS website crashed on deadline day.

    The IRS said that individuals or businesses with a filing or payment due Tuesday now have until midnight Wednesday to complete the task.

    Earlier Tuesday, Americans who had waited until the final day to file online got an unwelcome surprise: The agency's website for making payments and gaining access to other key services was down due to what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later described as a "high-volume technical issue."

    The website was back online late Tuesday.

    "This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers," Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter said in a statement. "The IRS appreciates everyone's patience during this period. The extra time will help taxpayers affected by this situation."

    No additional paperwork is needed to get the one-day extension, the IRS said.

    The IRS snafu also caused problems for popular third-party tax preparers such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block. Both said that they would hold on to customer tax returns and file after IRS system reopened.

  • Former first lady Barbara Bush dies at age 92

    By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press

    HOUSTON (AP) — Barbara Bush, the snowy-haired first lady whose plainspoken manner and utter lack of pretense made her more popular at times than her husband, President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday, a family spokesman said. She was 92.

    Mrs. Bush brought a grandmotherly style to buttoned-down Washington, often appearing in her trademark fake pearl chokers and displaying no vanity about her white hair and wrinkles.

    "What you see with me is what you get. I'm not running for president — George Bush is," she said at the 1988

    Republican National Convention, where her husband, then vice president, was nominated to succeed Ronald Reagan.

    The Bushes, who were married Jan. 6, 1945, had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history. And Mrs. Bush was one of only two first ladies who had a child who was elected president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.

    "I had the best job in America," she wrote in a 1994 memoir describing her time in the White House. "Every single day was interesting, rewarding, and sometimes just plain fun."

  • Woman killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified as New Mexico banker

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Family, friends and community leaders are mourning the death of a bank executive on a Southwest Airlines jet that blew an engine as she was flying home from a business trip to New York.

    Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two, was well known in New Mexico, where she had built a career over more than two decades in community relations and communications after graduating from the University of New Mexico.

    Gov. Susana Martinez called Riordan "an incredible woman who put her family and community first" and said her loss would be felt across the state.

    "The hearts of all New Mexicans are with the Riordan family," Martinez, a Republican, said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Before starting with Wells Fargo in 2008, Riordan had worked for the University of New Mexico hospital system in public relations and for Citi Corp.

    At Wells Fargo, she was the vice president for community relations and was in charge of managing employee volunteer and board service to nonprofit groups in New Mexico and parts of Texas. She also served on numerous boards and oversaw the annual United Way community campaign.

    Mayor Tim Keller said his thoughts and prayers were with Riordan's family.

  • Forecasters warn of rare, life-threatening wildfire weather

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Forecasters warned of dangerous, life-threatening wildfire conditions in parts of the Southwest and Southern Plains on Tuesday, as a forestry official warned firefighters battling a terrifying deadly blaze in Oklahoma that it would be a "historically critical day."

    Gusty winds and low humidity in drought-stricken areas will create dangerous fire conditions in parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Speheger said such conditions haven't been seen in at least a decade.

    By early afternoon Tuesday, temperatures that were projected to reach the mid-90s had reached 88 degrees (31 Celsius) with humidity at 6 percent. Wind gusts forecast to hit 40 mph (64 kph) were at 24 mph (39 kph). The forecast includes northwestern Texas and the Texas Panhandle where firefighting aircraft are stationed in Amarillo, Abilene and surrounding areas.

    "With these conditions, wildfires can spread rapidly, present control issues for firefighters and pose a real threat to public safety," said Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief Mark Stanford.

  • Lab building evacuated Monday as hazmat crews remediate bulging drum

    Los Alamos National Laboratory partially evacuated workers from the Sigma Building around Monday as hazmat workers responded to the building.

    “At 2:30, p.m. today Laboratory personnel and the Los Alamos Fire Department responded to a report of a bulging drum at the Sigma facility,” according to a laboratory spokesman. “The drum has been rendered safe. The area has been isolated and access control established. There is no threat to workers or the public.”

    All workers in the building were safe from the incident, and the area where the evacuation took place was confirmed safe, according to the spokesman.

    The Sigma building develops materials and components using engineering and metallurgical science in support of national security, according to the LANL website. This science includes a scope that spans alloys, ceramics and compounds from uranium to hydrogen, the website said.

  • Council OK’s power project

    The Los Alamos County Council voted by a 4-3 margin to enter into a contract with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems for the purpose of initiating the Carbon Free Power Project in a special session held Tuesday night.

    Voting in favor of Resolution No. 18-09 were James Chrobocinski, Rick Reiss, David Izraelevitz and Pete Sheehey. Casting votes in opposition were Christine Chandler, Antonio Maggiore and Susan O’Leary.

    The vote enters the county into the initial licensing phase of the project. The maximum cost exposure for the county, if it chooses to exit the project at the next decision point, which would be at the end of March of 2019, is $80,000.

    If the county decides to continue in the project the fiscal impact would increase with a total share currently estimated to be approximately $56 million through construction completion.

    That cost would be financed by the project and the county would be repaying it as part of the purchase price of the power generated by the project.

    Before the vote on the resolution took place, Councilor Christine Chandler proposed a substitute motion with the purpose of amending the contract with regard to the modules that would be produced, the first of which would go online in 2026.

  • GOP candidates make big showing in LA

    It was all handshakes, smiles and introductions Thursday night as 19 local and state Republican candidates or their representatives showed up at Jeanette Wallace Hall at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos to tell the public what they’re all about.

    Senate candidate Mick Rich wasted no words, saying to the audience that Martin Heinrich no longer has New Mexico’s best interests in mind. As a contractor who has worked with many federal contractors through the years, Rich told the audience that he knows how to work with Washington.

    “I can be successful in Washington,” Rich said. “I looked around and I said, ‘Who’s not doing their job?’ and it’s Martin Heinrich. I’m not alone. This guy’s vulnerable and New Mexicans are figuring out this guy isn’t our friend.”

    Rich later said he has a campaign chairman in every county of the state and the fact that the first vice chair of the New Mexico Republican Party, Rick Lopez, had joined his campaign as state chairman means he’s serious about toppling Heinrich.

    In his tour across the state he said many people wanted know how he was going to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the state and how to bring the federal education department back to basics and put a stop to so much testing.

  • Schneider to retire after 17 years

    Pauline Schneider said it was just the right time. As someone who now has aging parents back home in Canada, it was time to move back.

    After 17 years, Schneider announced Friday that she is leaving her post as executive director of the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization. Her last day will be sometime in June.

    As she sat at her desk in her office at the Betty Ehart Center in Los Alamos, she said she was glad for the help she was able to give to two retirement centers her organization oversees and the people in them.

    The ironic thing is that when she first started working with seniors in Los Alamos, those Los Alamos seniors first came to her when she was working in Santa Fe. Schneider was working at a Santa Fe retirement organization, then named

    Rosemont, when the facility opened its doors to the seniors evacuating from Los Alamos during the 2000 Cerro Grande fire.

    When she made the move to the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization in 2001 she was already involved in helping those same seniors rebuild their lives by helping the volunteers at the two senior centers try to recover computer equipment and other things the seniors lost to the fire.  

    “Our volunteers were amazing,” Schneider said. “Just watching them interact with the seniors was amazing.”

  • Garden center transition comes at right time

    A torch was passed earlier this month from Dave Fox of Pajarito Greenhouse in White Rock to Laural Hardin and Mike Petree of Petree Garden Center in Los Alamos.

    And with the opening of the latter comes the closing of the former.

    “For 19 years we had a nursery called Pajarito Greenhouse in Pajarito Acres, which is way too far away from the bulk of the population of Los Alamos,” said Fox. “But it was very successful for 19 years. I’m going to turn 80 (on April 8), and so this is perfect timing as far as I’m concerned. And my MRI says that’s true, too.”

    When Fox moved to New Mexico from St. Louis, Mo., he brought with him a love of gardening and a conduit of advice from a friend back in the Show Me State.

    “When we came here from St. Louis I left behind a terrific azalea garden,” he said. “I had a friend who owned the largest nursery in St. Louis, so at the then-current AT&T land line rates he mentored me in opening a pretty much full-scale greenhouse. That got us started.”

    Fox and his family purchased a house in White Rock’s Pajarito Acres that already had a greenhouse on the premises.