Local News

  • Republican candidates address Kiwanis members

    One week after Democratic candidates introduced themselves to the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, Republican candidates had their chance.
    On May 17, All three candidates for the Los Alamos County Council, and several other candidates, were given three minutes to state their qualifications and discuss their most pressing issues.
    County Clerk Sharon Stover, who is opposing incumbent Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard for the District 43 state representative seat and Michael Romero, running against U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for his District 3 seat, were both on hand.
    Judith Nakamura, who is running to keep her appointed seat on the Supreme Court, also addressed the group. District 1 district attorney candidate Yvonne Chicoine and county clerk candidate Naomi Maestas also spoke.
    Councilor Steve Girrens, running for reelection, won the draw to speak first. Girrens has lived in Los Alamos 37 years and been employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 35 years.
    “I’m running primarily because I think there are exciting times ahead for our county, and I would like to continue to be part of those influencing in which direction those things go,” Girrens said.

  • New Mexico employers most likely to be sued

    A report to the Los Alamos County Council on May 17 by New Mexico Association of Counties Executive Director Steve Kopelman and General Counsel Grace Phillips provided a chilling perspective on liability suits against government entities in New Mexico.
    Kopelman cited a study conducted by Hiscox, an insurance company which specializes in employment law, reported on in “Property Casualty 360.” The study found that New Mexico employers are at higher risk of facing an employment lawsuit than in any other state.
    According to the study, the national average for lawsuits against employers is 11.7 percent. In New Mexico, the average is 66 percent, one point above Washington D.C.’s 65 percent. The next nearest “competitor” for the number of employment lawsuits was Nevada, at 47 percent.
    “It means we’re six times more liable for any of our businesses to have to defend an employment lawsuit,” Kopelman said “And the reason for that is because our laws and our court interpretations are so unfavorable for employers. And they are particularly unfavorable for public employers.”
    Kopelman and Phillips discussed some of the issues that contribute to those statistics and their impact on local governments.

  • Work stopped at A-19 site

    A layer of hard basalt rock has temporarily derailed plans for a mixed-use development project in White Rock.
    The county and a contractor installing utilities at the project site agreed to call it quits Friday. The contractor’s solutions to remove the rock would put the project beyond the county’s budget for the project.
    “RMCI (the contractor) sought out two potential alternatives, by blasting and by use of specialized trenching equipment, yet the costs proposed were well beyond the established project budget,” Los Alamos County Engineer Eric Martinez said in a written statement.
    The project site is located along NM 4 between the White Rock Visitor Center and “Area G,” a toxic waste disposal site owned and operated by the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  
    “Site A-19-A-1 Acquisition Group, LLC,” a subsidiary of Transcor Development Corporation (TDC), is developing the parcel.
    Once the utilities are installed, future plans for the site include a combination of housing and commercial use.
    Partners with TDC involved in the project, which include Raylee Homes and Cascade Creek Holdings LLC, could not be reached for comment when contacted at their Rio Rancho offices.

  • White Rock Canyon cleanup starts

    Four volunteers attended Saturday’s Trail Cleanup Day, part of the National River Cleanup, but their efforts made a dent on the massive cleanup needed in White Rock Canyon.
    Open Space Specialist Eric Peterson reported that volunteers hauled out 17 bags of trash, three bags of recycling, two doors, four buckets of glass and one  toilet.
    Strange items found included half an electric guitar, a water heater, two Lazy Boys, a push mower, a bike frame and a motorcycle.
    The cleanup focused on an area just below Overlook Park on the canyon rim, which has been used as an illegal dumping spot.
    “We still have a long way to go until the canyon is clean on trash but we made progress and were able move a lot of the heavier stuff closer to be hauled out,” Peterson said. “For the next cleanup in White Rock Canyon I hope to have aerial assistance either from a winch or crane to hoist out the heavier objects.”
    The next Trail Cleanup Day is scheduled for National Trails Day on June 4 at the Woodland Trailhead.

  • Today in history May 24
  • White Rock getting own zip code

    White Rock residents will be getting their own zip code beginning July 1. 

    For those affected, the new zone will be “87547.” According to the USPS, the zip code was assigned “in preparation for future growth in the area and to to continue to provide efficient delivery service for Los Alamos and White Rock Postal customers.”

    The code’s northern boundary ends just south of land owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    “This week, all postal customers who will be affected by these changes are being notified by mail. If a customer does not receive written notification by the end of this week, they are not affected by these changes,” the U.S. Postal Service announced Monday.

  • Today in history May 23
  • Council to mull abolishing sheriff’s office

    The Los Alamos County Council will introduce an ordinance to abolish the sheriff’s office at its Tuesday meeting.
    If adopted, voters would decide the charter question during the general election in November.
    There will be no discussion during Tuesday’s introduction of the ordinance. The public hearing on the ordinance is June 14.
    The county charter places law enforcement duties within the county under the command of the police department. The sheriff’s duties are limited to serving court documents and maintaining the sex offender registry.
    “During budget hearings, the sheriff pointed out that service of process has become a riskier activity than has been traditionally thought,” according to the staff report. “Because the county has no unincorporated area, there is not a need for two law enforcement agencies in the county. However, recognizing that the world and society have changed in ways that increase exposure to violence, it may no longer make sense to have a sheriff’s office with such limited functions.”
    Council may take action on a business item regarding the reassigning the sheriff’s duties Tuesday. The charter provides in Section 304.4 that council may establish departmental duties through resolution.

  • Parks and Rec reviews spraying policies

    The Los Alamos Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division has announced plans to suspend spraying herbicides on several parks.
    The plan was to spray Roundup and EndRun Broad Leaf Weed Killer on Rover Park, East Park, Community Soccer, Myrtle Green, Ashley Pond, Fuller Lodge, Aquatic Center, Western Area, Urban Park, Barranca Mesa and North Mesa Sports Complex. Spraying was to start May 16 and continue through Friday.
    On May 13, Parks and Rec sent a notice that spraying in those parks would be postponed indefinitely. However, a press release issued May 20 clarified that spraying would continue in other areas. The notice reads:
    “County ordinance requires weed abatement, due to health and safety, and general appearance of the common areas in the community, and so county departments and divisions are continuing their weed control programs in other non-park locations, which include sidewalks, roadside right-of-ways, medians, airport facilities, and parking lots. Weed management also continues at the Golf Course to ensure playability of the turf.”
    The decision to suspend spraying in the parks was reached after citizens raised concerns about health impacts of those herbicides.

  • LAPD seeks suspect’s identity

    The Los Alamos Police Department Investigations Section is seeking the identity of a suspect in a shoplifting case. The incident took place at Smith’s in Los Alamos, according to an  LAPD spokesman.
    Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the male suspect seen in the surveillance footage.
    The vehicle shown was driven by the suspect, according to police.
    LAPD is offering a reward of up to $100 to anyone who has information on the identity of the suspect.  
    Anyone with information can call L.A. crime stoppers at 662-8282.  Reporting individuals can remain anonymous.
    To see the photos online, visit lamonitor.com.