Local News

  • LAPD gets body cams

    The Los Alamos Police Department has joined the ranks of law enforcement using body-worn cameras, which is a device that attaches to an officer’s uniform and records video while they are on duty.
    Commander Preston Ballew, the manager of this project, said body cams had been in the back of the department’s mind for a few years, but the department was finally able to start implementing the program last year.
    At this point, every police officer in Los Alamos utilizes this special piece of equipment.
    The main goal behind this implementation is transparency and accountability.  “Personally, it’s not so much that I worry about my officers and what they do,” Ballew said, but more so when an officer is accused of something. The body cam is used as a tool to show the real issue, whatever that may be.
    “Maybe it will reflect a training issue, maybe it will clear up a complaint that the officer clearly didn’t do anything wrong,” Ballew said.
    Another example of its use could be in a traumatic situation where the officer cannot remember the details of the incident. The body-worn camera “gives us a first look as to what the officer was seeing and hearing at the time,” Ballew said.
    As many might assume, the video footage can be used as evidence in court.

  • New management takes over Sandia National Laboratories

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Scientists and researchers at the federal government's largest national laboratory are pushing ahead with work related to national security and the proliferation of nuclear weapons as new managers take over New Mexico-based Sandia National Laboratories for the first time in decades, officials said Monday.
    Director Stephen Younger discussed the lab's future during a news conference that marked the start of a new contract with National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, a subsidiary of Honeywell International.
    The U.S. Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration announced the $2.6 billion management contract in December. Officials have spent the last few months working on a smooth transition for the lab's thousands of employees and operations.
    The bulk of work at Sandia centers on the research, development and maintenance of nuclear weapons, but scientists there also have worked on energy and climate projects.
    Younger, who has a background in nuclear weapons, called Sandia's employees the "superheroes of technology."
    "Sandia defends the world and provides the opportunity for millions, if not billions, of people to lead peaceful and productive lives," he said.

  • Environmental group warns against foot race in bear country

    SANTA FE (AP) — Environmentalists are criticizing the decision to repeat a backcountry trail race after a long-distance runner was attacked by a bear last year at a National Park Service preserve in northern New Mexico.
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Monday said the National Park Service is downplaying the threat of interactions between wildlife and participants in a 50-mile race on May 20 at the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
    A mother bear with three cubs was euthanized last year by state wildlife officials after attacking and injuring a marathon runner as she raced through the Valles Caldera.
    A National Park Service evaluation of this year's race describes a continued threat of human interaction with bears and bear cubs, while noting a positive influence on recreation and public relations at the preserve.

  • Bear facts from New Mexico Game and Fish Department for Spring

    SANTA FE – People and wildlife are getting outdoors more often now that spring has arrived, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is reminding everyone to be aware of the greater chance of encountering bears and other native wildlife.
    Males and young, independent bears are emerging from hibernation this time of year and they will be out foraging and seeking territory of their own, said Rick Winslow, the department’s bear and cougar biologist. Sows with cubs will follow in May, while cubs born last winter that spent this winter with their mother soon will be setting out on their own as their mothers seek to breed again.
    After three years of good precipitation following a long-running drought, bears will be very busy breeding and producing offspring, Winslow said.
    Residents of wildland-urban interface areas such as the foothills of Santa Fe and Albuquerque or rural portions of the state may have a greater chance of encountering bears.
    People are encouraged to call the department and report a bear that exhibits aggressive behavior. Bears that appear to be moving through the country should be left alone and there is no need to report them. Last year, several individuals were injured during encounters with bears.
    The department offers the following suggestions if you visit or live in bear country:

  • Community set to celebrate bears

    Special to the Monitor

  • Time Out Pizzeria settles on new location

    Omar and Trisha officially signed the papers to their new location in Central Park Square next to Pet Pangaea. They recently moved out of their former location on Central Avenue and wanted to find a new space in town, which they were able to achieve. They are hoping to re-open by August or September of this year.
    Trisha said, “People are happy that we’re going to still be up here. I think it’ll be a good change for us.” There is no doubt, the Central Park Square location will offer better parking and convenient access to Bathtub Row Brewing, which is only a few steps away. The White Rock location is still offering free delivery for larger orders with a $35 minimum. Time Out Pizzeria will also have the same phone number.
    According to Omar, the complex owner, Philip Kunsberg, has been very helpful during the whole process. He expects to start seeing some commotion in that area in the coming days and weeks as Philip’s contractors begin working on the interior and exterior of the space. “Once they get all that stuff done we just have to plug in,” Omar remarked. He also mentioned that they would hang banners on the windows of the Central Avenue location to let people know where they are going.

  • Candidates for LAHS principal meet the public
  • ‘Green Team’ opens garden in White Rock

    The Los Alamos “Green Team” cuts the ribbon, above, on the “Demonstration Garden” in White Rock. The Green Team is comprised of Los Alamos County employees interested in implementing “green” environmental practices in trash reduction, irrigation, energy use and other practices. The White Rock Demonstration Garden was created by the team with native plants that require little to no water. The plants are labeled so visitors to the garden will know what they are and perhaps use them in their own gardens. Included in the picture are county employees, Matthew Allen, Anita Barela, Kirsten Bell, Leah Frazier, Benjamin Gonzales, Angelica Gurule, Jonathan Henley, Jason Wardlow-Herrera, Robert Martinez, Lea Ortiz, Tim Shrayer and others.

  • Local political action group discusses March for Science, immigration resolution

    Voices of Los Alamos is a relatively new political action group affiliated with the Indivisible Movement that focuses on fueling a progressive grassroots network. According to their Facebook page, their priority is to resist the incoming administration anti-environment, anti-regulation and anti-ethics agenda and get involved in the upcoming local elections. They achieve this by sharing action items like phone calls, petitions, town hall meetings, flyers, door-to-door activism, and more.
    The meeting on Monday evening began with an overview of two major events: March for Science and the immigration resolution. Christina Olds, one of the administrators of the group, said the march in Santa Fe seemed like a success. There was great turnout of people and booths, especially from Los Alamos. She also mentioned strong speakers that gave high-powered speeches, including one from Dr. Bette Korber.
    When asked if such marches would be annual, Olds said, “I personally feel that they should do a women’s march every year and a march for science every year… at least for the next four years.” Some members from the group helped to organize the March for Science along with main coordinators in Santa Fe.

  • LAFD rescues dog stranded on cliff in Española

    The Los Alamos Fire Department was called at 10 a.m. Wednesday to assist with a technical rescue with Rio Arriba County Emergency Services. Captain Manny Pacheco was head of the response team and explained that there was a report of a dog stranded on a cliff edge 200 feet down. With the help of Pacheco and his team, the scared pup named Smiley was safely rescued.
    The brother of the dog’s owner was watching the dog when Smiley reportedly escaped. The last time Smiley had been seen was Tuesday during the day, and the owner believes he was out on the cliff overnight.
    About 10 people came to help, which included four firefighters from LAFD, two personnel from Espanola Fire Department, two personnel from Rio Arriba County Fire Department, and one Rio Arriba County Animal Control Officer. The rescue took about one to one and a half hours to complete.