Local News

  • Los Alamos Co-op Market appoints interim general manager

    The Los Alamos Cooperative Market Board of Directors has appointed Triny Vigil, formerly the co-op’s meat and cheese manager, to assume the role of interim general manager during the store’s transition between general managers. The community is encouraged to stop by the co-op to welcome him to his new role, ask questions and supply feedback. He will also be available to speak to co-op members at the co-op’s annual meeting from 4-6 p.m. Sunday at the Holiday Inn Express. Board President Tracy McFarland will give the State of the Co-op address at the co-op annual meeting.
    Steve Watts serves his last day as general manager today and will be retained through May 24 to act as an operations consultant to help with the co-op’s leadership transition. Steve Watts served as the co-op’s general manager for 4-1/2 years. During which time, he led the co-op through opening the store, engaging the community, realizing double digit growth, purchasing the building and establishing a strong management team.  

  • Elected officials update council

    Budgets for the offices of elected officials — county assessor, county clerk and probate judge — passed unanimously without discussion on Tuesday. (See Sunday’s Los Alamos Monitor for more on the sheriff’s office budget.)
    County Assessor Ken Milder and County Clerk Sharon Stover provided updates on their departments’ activities on Monday.
    Milder’s Chief Deputy Assessor Joaquin Valdez noted that the assessor’s office is funded through both the general fund and the property valuation fund. The department was able to decrease general fund expenditures 2.6 percent in its FY2016 budget, while property valuation fund expenditures increased 14 percent.
    A recent audit by the New Mexico Property Tax Division confirmed that the department had generated approximately $15.3 million in property tax revenue.
    The department is currently working with Deputy County Manager Brian Bosshardt to render property owned by private Los Alamos National Laboratory contractors onto the county’s tax roles. According to Valdez, this would not only increase the county’s tax base, Los Alamos’ low property taxes would also benefit the contractors.

  • Multi Cultural Fair
  • Fire department gets high marks

    An international accreditation agency tasked with grading fire departments from around the world for safety and how effectively they serve their community has recommended that the Los Alamos Fire Department be reaccredited.
    LAFD is one of only 207 departments out of 35,000 in the United States that’s been granted the accreditation, which is performed by the The Center for Public Safety Excellence, Commission of Fire Accreditation International. The department is also the only one accredited by the CFAI in the state of New Mexico.
    According to CFAI Assessor Gary Aleshire, their process is so rigorous and extensive, it’s an accomplishment just to get an on-site visit.
    “There’s 78 core competencies that have to be met before we can even consider doing an on-site visit,” he said.
    LAFD Deputy Chief Justin Grider said the approval means many things to the LAFD.

  • Today in history April 24
  • State briefs 4-23-15

    New WIPP boss headed to contaminated site

    CARLSBAD (AP) — The man appointed to lead the company that oversees the federal government’s troubled nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico previously ran a facility in Idaho where a radiation release contaminated workers in 2011.
    Philip Breidenbach was named president and project manager of the Nuclear Waste Partnership last week. The company manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, which has been closed since last year due to a radiation release.
    The Albuquerque Journal reports Breidenbach used to run a plutonium facility at Idaho National Laboratory, where a radiation accident contaminated 16 workers.
    The incident was blamed on a lack of safety precautions and worker training, much like the WIPP mishap.
    Despite the criticisms of watchdogs, Nuclear Waste Partnership says Breidenbach has a track record of turning around a troubled operation.

    Rodella must remain in prison while appealing

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former Rio Arriba County Sheriff will remain in federal prison in Texas while awaiting his appeal charges of violating a person’s civil rights while using a handgun.

  • County’s unemployment rate under 4 percent

    Los Alamos County once again had the lowest level of unemployment in the state of New Mexico last month.
    For the month of March, Los Alamos had an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, which was a full percentage point lower than all other counties in the state but one, Eddy County.
    Los Alamos reported that 307 people were unemployed last month. That number was down slightly from February, but that drop may have been at least partially due to a dip in the county’s total labor force.
    In February, the county had a labor force of 8,400 people, but that number dropped to 8,364 in March. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, which puts out the monthly labor numbers for the state, didn’t offer an explanation for the drop.
    Statewide, the department reported the 31st consecutive month of over-the-year job growth for nonfarm payroll employment.
    Compared to a year ago, employment rolls were up 1.6 percent, which represents a net gain of approximately 13,000 jobs.
    The overall gains in March were down slightly from February, which was the strongest month for the state in terms of job creation since 2006.
    In the past year, the state has seen the most growth in areas such as education and health services, while professional and business services were up by approximately 3,700 jobs from a year ago.

  • Local real estate broker now certified as luxury home specialist

    Kelly Myers, an associate broker at RE/MAX of Los Alamos, completed a luxury home training course. She is now a certified luxury home specialist, according to a press release sent out Wednesday.
    To become a certified luxury home specialist, brokers must demonstrate an understanding of the demographics of the affluent, lifestyle segmentation, trends and amenities in selling luxury homes creating marketing plans for luxury properties.
    “The training provided new insight about the upper-tier market, helped me polish my skills and provided valuable networking contacts with other agents across the country who specialize in luxury properties,” Myers said in the release.
    A luxury property is defined for the Los Alamos market as a property that has sold for $450,000 or more. The figure is based on the actual sales price of the top 10 percent of home sold in the market.
    Myers has been in real estate in Los Alamos since 2005. She is a Platinum Award-winning realtor and is among the local RE/MAX agency’s top sellers during her career.
    Myers specializes in real estate in the local area, including Los Alamos County, Española, Santa Fe and the Jemez.

  • Local briefs 4-23-15

    County branding to be discussed

    There is a public meeting scheduled for those wishing to give input into the new Los Alamos County branding initiative.
    The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. May 5 at Fuller Lodge. Those interested can give their input to representatives from Atlas Advertising, which is continuing the logo development process.
    There will also be discussions about the county’s strapline options. An initial strapline “Live Exponentially,” was rejected by the public earlier this year.
    Other straplines given to Atlas Advertising for consideration include the following:
    • Where everything is elevated.
    • High intelligence in the high desert.
    • Think bigger, live brighter.
    • Great. Beyond.
    • Absolutely brilliant.
    • Get to a higher plane.
    The development selection and process is expected to be conducted through the summer and fall of this year, concluding with approval of the strapline and logo.
    For more information about the program, call 662-8087.

    Unitarian Church votes for new building

    The congregation of the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos voted Sunday to go forward with plans to construct a new building, officials announced Monday.

  • New MRI could aid wounded soldiers, Third World kids

    Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing an ultra-low-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system that could be low-power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the World’s poorest regions.
    “MRI technology is a powerful medical diagnostic tool,” said Michelle Espy, the Battlefield MRI (bMRI) project leader, “ideally suited for imaging soft-tissue injury, particularly to the brain.”
    But hospital-based MRI devices are big and expensive, and require considerable infrastructure, such as large quantities of cryogens like liquid nitrogen and helium, and they typically use a large amount of energy.
    “Standard MRI machines just can’t go everywhere,” Espy said. “Soldiers wounded in battle usually have to be flown to a large hospital and people in emerging nations just don’t have access to MRI at all.  We’ve been in contact with doctors who routinely work in the Third World and report that MRI would be extremely valuable in treating pediatric encephalopathy, and other serious diseases in children.”
    So the Los Alamos team started thinking about a way to make an MRI device that could be relatively easy to transport, set up, and use in an unconventional setting.