Local News

  • Ahlers tapped for economic development position

    Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess announced Friday that Joanie Ahlers was selected for the position of Economic Development Administrator. 

    Ahlers has been the chief operations officer for Los Alamos Public Schools for over four years, with oversight of six departments and responsibilities involving leased facilities, construction of new projects, custodial and maintenance operations, managing fixed assets, and technology and data integration.  

    Ahlers is also co-owner of Courthouse Properties LLC, a privately held firm that performs real estate development for the State of New Mexico, specializing in design/build of office space and magistrate courthouses. Prior to joining the school district, Ahlers was also co-owner of North Mesa Builders in Los Alamos, providing new construction and remodeling services for homes. 

    “I am excited to welcome Joanie to our staff to take charge of our economic development division,” said Burgess.

    Ahlers’ first day of employment will be Dec. 5.

  • Prescribed burns continue in Valles Caldera next week

    National Park Service fire managers successfully treated 478 acres with prescribed fire in the Banco Bonito district of the Valles Caldera National Preserve,  north of NM 4 near mile marker 30. 

    Because the weather forecast for Thursday through Sunday is not favorable for smoke dispersion, fire managers will not conduct more fire starts during this time.

    Fire personnel are patrolling and monitoring the treated portion of the planned 1,200-acre prescribed burn area to ensure the fire continues to provide resource benefits in a safe manner. Ignitions may begin again as early as Monday if the forecast improves.  

    This was the second successful prescribed fire on the preserve this year. In May, fire managers successfully treated 1,250 acres of grassland in the Valle Grande.

  • Police Beat

    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.

    Oct. 5

    11:35 p.m. — Stuart Gwyn, 31, of Los Alamos was arrested for driving a vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor at Trinity Drive.

    Oct. 6

    3:44 p.m. — Daniel Delgado, 30, of Santa Fe was arrested for possession of a controlled substance on State Highway 4.


    10:48 p.m. — Mark Sisneros, 22, of Santa Fe was arrested for unlawful use of a license, driving when privilege to do so has been revoked at the intersection of Diamond Drive and University Drive. 


  • On the Docket

    Oct. 6

    Antonio Maldonado-Rodriguez was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


    Dominic Browning pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant’s sentence deferred until Dec. 4. Defendant was also sentenced to defensive driving school.


    Aurore V. Loranger pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court following too closely and causing an accident. Defendant was fined $100 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


    Nicole C. Kowalski was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $40 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


    Tai B. Bixby  was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of failing to yield or stop at a sign. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.


  • US internet repeatedly disrupted by cyberattacks on key firm

    LONDON (AP) — Cyberattacks on a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted the availability of popular websites across the United States Friday, according to analysts and company officials. The White House described the disruption as malicious.

    Manchester, New Hampshire-based Dyn Inc. said its server infrastructure was hit by distributed denial-of-service attacks, which work by overwhelming targeted machines with junk data traffic. The attack had knock-on effects for users trying to access popular websites from across America and even in Europe. Among the sites apparently affected were Twitter, Netflix, and Sony's PlayStation Network.

    The level of disruption was difficult to gauge, but Dyn provides internet traffic management and optimization services to some of the biggest names on the web, including Twitter, Netflix and Visa. Critically, Dyn provides domain name services, which translate the human-readable addresses such as "twitter.com" into an online route for browsers and applications.

  • Photos show European Mars probe crashed, may have exploded

    BERLIN (AP) — Europe's experimental Mars probe hit the right spot — but at the wrong speed — and may have ended up in a fiery ball of rocket fuel when it struck the surface, scientists said Friday.

    Pictures taken by a NASA satellite show a black spot in the area where the Schiaparelli lander was meant to touch down Wednesday, the European Space Agency said. The images end two days of speculation following the probe's unexpected radio silence less than a minute before the planned landing.

    "Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometers (1.4-2.4 miles), therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph)," the agency said.

    It said the large disturbance captured in the NASA photographs may have been caused by the probe's steep crash-landing, which would have sprayed matter around like a blast site on Earth.

    "It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full," the agency said.

  • County truck takes out light
  • League forum spotlights council candidates

    Citizens posed questions to Los Alamos County Council candidates at the Oct. 13 League of Women Voters of Los Alamos (LWVLA) candidate forum.
    Republican candidates Patrick Brenner, Jaret McDonald and Steve Girrens and Democratic candidates Pete Sheehey, Chris Chandler and Antonio Maggiore all participated.
    The first question was whether candidates supported the transition to clean energy. McDonald, Sheehey, Chandler and Maggiore all gave an unqualified “yes.”
    McDonald said that to make the transition, council would have to work together and look at the economic impact.
    Sheehey suggested that the NuScale small modular nuclear reactor the Department of Public Utilities is currently considering could be an option, but that there are many uncertainties regarding cost. He also advocated for incorporating more solar into the county’s power mix.
    “If towns in Texas can be generating 30 to 50 percent of their energy with renewables, we can too,” Sheehey said.
    Chandler advocated for withdrawing from the San Juan Generating Station agreement as soon as possible and opposed replacing that with more coal generation. She supported DPU’s investigation of the NuScale project and said she would support it if it were economically feasible.

  • LANL Trails Working Group honors Montoya

    Bryan Montoya, longtime member of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Trails Working Group’s, died unexpectedly a month ago at the age of 47. To honor his memory, the trails group dedicated their biannual hike to Montoya on Thursday.
    Montoya, who worked in San Ildefonso’s Department of Environmental and Cultural Preservation, had represented the Pueblo on the working group for 12 or 13 years.
    The group, which serves as a steering committee for LANL, is comprised of both LANL employees and representatives from Los Alamos County, the National Forest Service, the National Park Service and interested trail users. It facilitates the lab’s goal of allowing public access on its trails while protecting cultural and bio-resources.
    According to Trails Working Group Chair Dan Pava, members works very synergistically and often resolves trails issues just through the relationships they have built.
    Pava spoke about Montoya’s patience and sense of humor, as well as his contributions to the trails group, before presenting a gift from LANL’s Environmental Protection and Compliance Group to his widow, Clarice, who was there with two of her four children.

  • NMED allows SF, Pueblos to test LANL’s stormwater

    Neighboring governments, Pueblos and entities that receive stormwater runoff from Los Alamos National Laboratory will be able to their own monitoring.
    The New Mexico Environment Department made the announcement during a biannual update to the public about LANL’s stormwater permit.  
    “We also wanted to have the ability to share skills, knowledge and technology about stormwater sampling with interstate agencies in and around the (Pajarito) Plateau,” Acting Point Source Regulation Section Manager Sarah Holcomb said.
    Four Pueblos that receive runoff include Cochiti, Jemez, Santa Clara and San Ildefonso. Santa Fe, Santa Fe County and the New Mexico Department of Transportation are also included in the plan.
    The communities and agencies will receive hands-on and classroom training with stormwater monitoring, sampling and data analysis. The Pueblos will also get special test equipment.
    The programs are scheduled to be in place by December 2018.
    “Our hope with that technology transfer is that those parties will move forward with their own stormwater monitoring programs and have their own data,” Holcomb said.